The financial industry may be clogging its own pipeline.
Millennials are graduating from college ready to become advisors and representatives, but many are discouraged by the traditional culture of financial firms, says Bill McManus, director of strategic markets at Radnor, Pa.-based Hartford Funds.
“Firms still have the ability to attract young advisors, there’s interest from talented individuals, but the key is in the workplace,” McManus says. “Firms are trying to adapt to millennial demands for accessibility and flexibility.”
In April, McManus hosted a roundtable of millennial financial advisors, born between 1980 and 2000, to gather first-hand opinions regarding the industry’s treatment of its youngest employees.
There are 70 million millennial Americans, says McManus, including high school juniors and seniors through middle-aged thirty-somethings progressing through their careers and starting families.
“These young advisors are really dedicated to the industry and want to understand what things are going to look like over the next five to 15 years,” McManus says. “They’re excited about the opportunity to establish themselves.”
Yet McManus says that the industry’s prevailing perception of millennials continues to be one of underemployed 20-year-olds living in their parents’ basements.
In his whitepaper, McManus recommended that advisory firms put aside preconceived notions regarding millennials and focus on attracting, developing and cultivating them into effective advisors and retaining them by communicating a plan for their future.
The roundtable acknowledged that their peers might feel disconnected to the financial services industry, which might make it difficult for firms to recruit high-level millennial talent.
“The perception among millennial advisors is that the industry as a whole needs to change to be more palatable to the next generation,” McManus says. “There needs to be some flexibility.”