Executives from nearly a dozen firms gathered recently to map out strategies for developing the next generation of advisors and planners. Advisors are growing older and retiring or selling their businesses, leaving a shortage just at the time when the need for financial advice is expected to soar.
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Because they are retiring, more custodians, broker-dealers, and advisors need help with succession planning. At the same time, the largest wealth transfer in history is already in process.
Executives say they need to educate young people about the range of career options in the industry. It’s challenging to try to explain the industry, the jargon, and the different types of business models. Trying to assess the candidates who will make the best advisors is also tricky.
It’s also hard to see any kind of immediate return on recruiting, grooming, and training new advisors. Recipients of the huge transfer of wealth are Gen-Xers and Millennials who want to work with younger advisors. But it will take years to train younger advisors so firms will likely be caught between a dwindling, older workforce and the time it takes to get new hires up to meaningful production.
Firms have to understand the characteristics of the younger generations so they can create a work environment and career path that will attract them. Within that, the focus of the industry needs to shift from a market-based, expected rate of return story to one of helping clients sleep at night.