This summer, I had the opportunity to spend time with three young advisors under the age of 40. They shared stories about being bombarded during the pandemic by headhunters looking for younger people to take over the businesses of more senior advisors in their local or adjacent markets.

The offers they received varied. One was offered the chance to buy into a firm, another to buy out an older founder, and another to work for a private equity investor who would make them a minority partner. These random conversations were purely anecdotal and don’t represent a meaningful sample. But sometimes a focus group of three people can provide more insights than a poll of thousands. They also underscore how desperate this business is for talent.

For what it’s worth, these three all seemed satisfied with their choice of careers. They also sounded reasonably satisfied at their firms, though more than one was open to making a move—if it were the right one. One young advisor said the RIA firm he worked at was increasing its compensation because of the advisor shortage. The firm was also planning to spread its equity more broadly.

What I didn’t sense in these smart young advisors was a desire to put together their own acquisition vehicles and start buying up other firms available for sale. Perhaps they saw that the space is already crowded with private equity firms rolling up RIAs and other advisory businesses.

Maybe they didn’t want to engage in financial engineering and take on debt to start buying established entities. All three of these advisors came of age during the financial crisis, and when asked what they were hearing from client contemporaries, the cost of housing and mortgage rates were at the top of the list of worries.

There was a tone of caution, but at the same time, the three advisors weren’t necessarily afraid of making entrepreneurial moves. Ultimately, the idea of creating their own business with clients whom they considered “theirs” clearly held a lot of appeal.

Luckily for them, they enjoy a wide-ranging variety of career options within the advisory profession. Over the next five years, we’re going to find out what career choices the next generation of advisors favor the most.

Email me at [email protected] with your opinion.