Here’s how the best financial advisors recruit young talent
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Hiring young talent is imperative for financial advisers. But finding so-called “next-generation” advisers can be a challenge, in large part because recent college graduates often ignore financial advice as a career path, according to companies in CNBC’s annual FA 100 ranking.
These large companies have found ways to overcome the barriers to hiring. Some use internship programs as a pipeline of next-generation advisors, while others leverage industry organizations and even existing client relationships.
“This is a priority for us,” said Wayne Wilbanks, senior director and chief investment officer at Wilbanks Smith & Thomas Asset Management in Norfolk, Virginia. “We are keenly aware of empowering the next generation.”
There are many benefits to finding and nurturing young talent.
On the one hand, it can help gain more clients as existing clients age, Wilbanks said.
“We have a lot of 80-year-old clients who have 50-year-old children and 18-year-old grandchildren who inherit the money,” he said. “The [young] a client who has just inherited $ 2 million may want to do business with someone closer to his or her age.
Young advisers are also important for business succession plans; these business continuity plans also help put customers at ease.
“I think it’s in everyone’s best interest to have younger talent who can potentially buy into the business to help liquidate some of the more senior shareholders,” said Rachel Moran, shareholder, certified financial planner and Director of Personal Wealth Management at RTD Financial, based in Philadelphia.
Young advisers bring new ideas, perspectives and knowledge, especially in the areas of technology, Moran said. A pipeline of next-generation advisors also contributes to career advancement across the company – when associate financial planners are promoted, young advisers can fill their vacancies, she said.
Yet the industry does not have many young advisers.
The number of vocational training centers in their sixties is more than triple the number in their twenties, for example.
Some universities have tracks dedicated to financial planning. But most schools tend to offer a general degree in finance or business, which means the profession of financial planner is not very visible, the advisers said.
“There is a lot of demand [for young advisors] in the consulting sector, but [universities] don’t present it to them as an option, ”Manal Fouz, compliance manager at Azzad Asset Management in Falls Church, Va.
How they do it
However, companies have found various ways to identify and hire next-generation talent.
RTD Financial and Azzad have had great success with internships, typically for one student each year. If the internship goes well, companies hire full-time candidates.
At RTD, successful interns are recruited as associate financial planners. The company has relationships with various universities that offer financial planning tracks, such as Temple University, which is also in Philadelphia, and Virginia Tech, from which Moran herself is a graduate. He also identifies potential young recruits through his local chapter of the Financial Planning Association.
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Likewise, Wilbanks Smith & Thomas posts on various industry sites – like the CFA Institute, an association that offers the Chartered Financial Analyst designation – as well as on regional college sites to identify young talent.
The firm has managed to find more candidates further afield due to the Covid pandemic, Wilbanks said. A person who was previously keen to work in big cities like New York or Atlanta may now be more willing to move to Norfolk to work, for example, he said.
Azzad has an additional recruiting challenge, Fouz said: The company follows Islamic principles of investing and financial planning, and seeks candidates who are passionate about a faith-based style of investing.
The company identified potential employees through existing customer relationships – often college-aged children of parents who are Azzad customers. Its senior planner, who has worked for the company for over a decade, was introduced to the company this way when she was in her early twenties – she started out as an intern.
(The 2021 CNBC Financial Advisor 100 ranking will be revealed at 8 a.m. ET on Wednesday, October 6.)