Anyone in the financial advisor profession knows about the graying of the industry and the need for young blood and new faces to replenish the ranks. But hiring new advisors has its own set of challenges, as detailed by two advisory firm executives who spoke on a panel at the Financial Services Institute’s OneVoice conference this week in Orlando.
The panel discussion focused on how to attract new financial advisors to the industry. The hiring needs and training related to new advisors can differ between, say, smaller independent registered investment advisor firms and larger companies with hundreds—or thousands—of advisors. But some of the basics, such as integrating new hires into the flow and dealing with the generational differences they bring to the table (at least for those in the millennial age group), cut across all advisor channels.
Derek Burke, president of Waddell & Reed Inc., said companies should have a plan before hiring new advisors because the entire process is a huge commitment of time and money.
“What are you looking for that advisor to do?” he asked. “You need to define the market in terms of where that advisor is going to work. What skill sets will he or she need?”
Along with its asset management division the runs two mutual fund families—the Waddell & Reed Advisors Funds and Ivy Funds, Overland Park, Kansas-based Waddell & Reed also has nearly 2,000 financial advisors who advise on about $50 billion in assets across its broker-dealer and RIA channels. About two-thirds of its advisor business is fee-based.
Burke said his company’s experience is that it’s not easy teaching new dogs old tricks.
“In terms of development, we’ve finally recognized that you can try to force this new generation of people to learn under the old construct, or you can just think about how they want to learn. We try to leverage the tools they [millennials] are comfortable using,” he said.
Burke said Waddell & Reed can’t afford to break in new employees the old-fashioned way where they’d spend hours and hours each week training people one-on-one.
“Some aspects of training can be consolidated and centralized, and with technology you can have a compelling training session with 30 advisors versus one sitting across the table,” he said.
But even so, he acknowledges that millennials bring a different mindset to the process.