"The boomer generation is much better at selling the business and are better relationship builders," says Boyce, 39. "The Gen X side is much more pragmatic and focused on the operations side with an eye toward efficiencies and profitability."

He adds that among advisor friends in his age group, a commonplace argument they hear between senior and younger advisors centers on what's the best way to run the business going forward.

Boyce believes the old, personality-driven model that relies on relationships forged by one or two main principals isn't sustainable. Instead, he thinks clients are better served long-term by a more corporate-type model based on a team approach with an eye toward greater efficiency and profitability.

Boyce posits that his fellow Gen Xers and the incoming Gen Y crowd share a similar pragmatic, operations-focused approach to the business. "I think Gen Y is a cross between boomers and Gen X in that they have larger social networks and tend to be more optimistic than Xers," he says. "But I see less conflict between X and Y than between X and boomers, and that has to do with technology and connectivity, which makes them more relatable.

"That's why moving things forward with the X and Y crowd will be a very powerful business model versus the old model," he continues. "I think the younger mind set will win, not because they're smarter, but because they're more pragmatic and efficient."

And that, he says, can create a better value proposition for clients, who increasingly might question why they should pay an advisor a 1% fee when they can pay 0.7% at another firm.

Boyce credits American Financial Advisors' two co-founding principals--Paul Auslander, 57, and Leslie Kelly, 62--for their willingness to upgrade technology and to explore new ways of doing things to make the firm better. "They realized the client is the most important thing," he says.

For Auslander, his firm's operational transition through the years coincided with his learning to adapt to the ways of the younger advisors at his company, which currently includes two thirty-somethings and one twenty-something.

"It's a learning curve that I went through and am still going through," he says. "You appreciate them for what they are. You can't motivate them the same way we were motivated. The idea of a bonus or BMW doesn't motivate them. More free time is what they want."

"We've cracked the code, and as a result we've had a bit of a cultural shift at our firm," he adds. "I give them what they want and they're very hard working. They're not lazy; they just work differently. That's something I had to learn."