“Millennials keep us honest in that they’re more willing to call out the frailties of the program,” Burke said. “Before, you’d give folks the roadmap and they’d go after it. The millennials step back and challenge you and say, ‘I’m not really sure I’m ready to do that.’ So that’s the quandary we have right now.

“That’s where in our organization they look for that teaming or mentoring opportunity,” he continued. “What we try to do with our less-experienced advisors is help them understand that no matter who you are, you’re never going to know everything. It’s about the life coach philosophy where your job is more to listen and really understand what the client is looking for, and then go back and lever your local leadership, home office resources and the like.”

As Burke noted, the financial advice business is a lot more complex than it was back in the day when you could earn a paycheck by selling mutual funds to folks at the kitchen table. Current trends that increasingly are driving the business, such as fiduciary responsibilities and holistic financial planning, require a lot more training and a greater gestation period for new advisors.

As such, Burke said Waddell & Reed probably doesn’t break even on its investments in new hires till the sixth year they’re at the firm . . . provided they’re still there by then.

“It sounds great to bring new advisors to the firm and it’s a great way to grow your business, but will you be spending more than you’re bringing in over a long period of time?” he asked.

J. Scott Spiker, CEO of First Command Financial Planning Inc. in Ft. Worth, Texas, said his company works with a different talent pool than most other firms in the industry.

First Command started 58 years ago by serving the financial needs of the military. About 15 years ago it expanded its mission to cover federal employees, and 10 years ago it started offering its services to the general investing public. It has about 550 financial advisors across its hybrid broker-dealer/RIA structure.

Because of its military focus, 70 percent of First Command’s advisors are either military or the spouse of military, Spiker said.

“They can be 40 to 45 years old at retirement when they join us, and we benefit from their maturity and their service-mindedness,” he explained. “But someone who joined the military at 18 years old and is two years away from retirement is still a millennial, so we’re paying attention to that demographic.”

Spiker’s experience has shown that what new hires are looking for in a company is a richer value proposition presented right upfront. “They want to see the whole lifespan of that whole proposition; they don’t want to just see Step One,” he said.