Even though it would hurt short-term profits, financial advisory firms were urged Tuesday to boost hiring (especially of Generation Yers) to increase the ability for growth and customer satisfaction in the long term.

“Part of the problem is advisors view everything as cost centers. We want to justify everything as ROI [return on investment] immediately and there are some things we can’t justify as ROI immediately,” Fidelity Investment’s National Financial Advisor Programs Vice President Brian Nelson said at the Financial Services Institute's 10th annual conference in Washington, D.C.

Nelson said Gen Yers can help advisory firms keep families in their businesses years longer because they can better communicate with clients' children and help develop a team approach to serving customers.

Nelson said he is finding that clients see extra value in dealing with several professionals rather than just one.

“They want to know if an advisor is hit by a bus, they and their families will be taken care of,” said the Fidelity unit executive.

The need for greater GenY hiring was emphasized by Pershing Director Kim Dellarocca, who noted only 5 percent of the people in advisory firms are under 30.

“The industry has tolerated for too long a lack of consistent training, lack of succession planning,” she said.