The financial services industry needs younger and more female advisors who can help young people and others seeking financial help for the first time. Today those would-be clients often can’t find can’t find vitally needed advisor services today as some parts of the financial services industry cut back financial planning programs, say officials of a Denver-based independent broker-dealer.

So Cetera Advisors, hoping to encourage more young financial professionals to pursue the CFP designation, has announced it will sponsor CFP courses at the University of Akron.

The program, said Cetera officials, is addressing the “significant shortage of young FAs in the industry.” But they added that it is doing so “in a way that replaces the cutting of many junior-advisor training programs at the wirehouses over the past 15 years, a development that has led to today’s current shortage of qualified younger FAs.”

A Cetera official added that the industry will be helped by younger practitioners.
“The aging of our financial advisor base, and the expected future deficit of highly trained and dedicated practitioners is a well-known problem throughout our industry,” Erinn Ford, president of Cetera Advisors, told Financial Advisor magazine.

She added the average advisor age at Cetera is 58. She hopes that number will decline owing to the brokerage’s support for the program. One problem today, she noted, is “there have been few effective and affordable solutions for overcoming the many barriers that often prevent bringing in a younger work force to supplement and eventually replace our current cohort of industry professionals.”

This is why Cetera officials opted to put money into the University of Akron CFP program. Cetera officials said the university program is one of the few available that combine attaining a BA with courses that can help a young person earn a CFP. The program, Cetera officials said, effectively prepares them to serve the retail financial advice industry. The program puts students “in close contact with the industry’s practitioners,” added Dr. Barry Mulholland,

Students who complete the courses earn a college degree and are on the way to earning a CFP.

“This allows them to hit the ground running. It gives them vital training that prepares them not only for the advisory work, but for many different jobs in the advisory industry,” adds Carina Diamond, a CFP and a managing director at SS&G, which is part of the Cetera network. Diamond said she is “passionate” about bringing more women into the practice because the advisory industry remains “male dominated.”

Cetera also said it is entering the partnership with the university because it has many advisor practices in the Midwest and it hopes to recruit a new generations of professionals in the region.

It’s new partnership, Cetera said in a release, said it will “direct a flow of qualified young professionals within the program, or who have recently graduated, toward internship opportunities and employment opportunities at Cetera-affiliated practices across the region.”