There’s bad news for firms seeking to hire and retain millennials, women and fast-growing advisors—a new study suggests they’re failing in their attemps to keep these workers from leaving.
Advisors who are most likely to switch practices are becoming younger, more female and more successful, according to a report released on Wednesday by Boston-based Fidelity Cleasring & Custody Solutions.
“There’s an interesting and concerning convergence that’s happening,” said Bob Oros, executive vice president and head of Fidelity’s RIA segment. “There’s a strong need and market for advice, there’s a supply and demand issue for advisors — we’re projected to be short 10,000 advisors by 2020 — and we have an issue with young and female advisors moving. There are going to be winners and losers.”
When comparing the cohort of advisors changing firms in 2014 to previous years, there were were more females—14 percent in 2014 versus 8 percent in 2013, according to Fidelity’s analysis. They are also more likely to be millennials—22 percent in 2014 versus 14 percent in 2013. Moreover, the group served clients with higher average asset levels—$829,000 in 2014 versus $673,000 in 2013.
Millennials were among the highest-producing movers, making up 43 percent of the advisors changing firms with assets of $250 million AUM or more. In 2013, millennials made up just 14 percent of the movers in this group.
If firms want to keep their young advisors, they need to provide better training options, a clearer career path and more transparent communication on compensation, said Oros.
“One-third of these movers are leaving within their first four years of being an advisor at their previous firm,” Oros said. ”That suggests that firms need to capture their hearts and minds early. If you’re lackadaisical about their needs, you face the risk of not retaining them.”
Continuing a multiyear trend, in 2014 the largest contingent of movers, 50 percent, transitioned to independent channels like RIAs or independent broker-dealers. According to Fidelity, these advisors cited having more control over daily operations, the ability to focus on their clients and more independence in developing and executing investing strategies as primary reasons for their decisions.
Compared to previous studies, financial motivations in 2014 were less important as a motivation to move. Fidelity says that advisors more frequently cited having control over their practice and having a better balance between work and life as top reasons for leaving their previous firms.
Oros said that firms seeking to retain advisors need to provide them greater autonomy and more options around investment decisions.