Hiring, Training, and Retaining Young Financial Advisors

Hiring, Training, and Retaining Young Financial Advisors.

Like the clients we serve, the industry is graying. The average age of financial advisors in the US is 55,  20% of them over 65, and only 11% are under 40.  We are going to need a younger talent pool.

So, this is a good time to be a young and aspiring financial advisor. Rookies in insurance sales will be able to make the best of generational advantages—technology, social media, and a demand for their labor— while also needing to learn the fundamentals of the trade to achieve success. This is where the experienced financial planner can take on a mentoring role. Established firms can help recruits develop while also extracting critical, contemporary value from them. 

There are constants in the financial planning industry. Insurance products in essence have not changed much. Annuities have been around since ancient Rome. Young agents will quickly learn from you that there is long-term value in building and maintaining a personal connection with clients.  You will need to keep them focused on long-term philosophy.  Who do I serve?  How do I create value? They will come to understand from you that a regular old-fashioned phone call to a customer will help them retain clients and to build a network. 

However, hiring younger advisors can benefit your business in various ways.  They have a natural familiarity with technology that even some Gen X agents lack. They are familiar with engaging on the internet and social media, which will help you to market services and brand more effectively.  They are also and are likely to be proficient (or be quick to learn!) in forecasting and performance software.

Rookie advisors are also interested and engaged in emerging markets, such as cryptocurrencies and fintech.  Experienced advisors and firms know to keep focused on long term outcomes: we can be fairly sure that someone somewhere will be selling life insurance policies a hundred years from now.  Blockchain wallets? That is less certain.  Nevertheless, a firm who would never recommend that a client convert their entire 401K to Bitcoin, should still be able to demonstrate familiarity with the changing landscape. Millennials and GenZ workers are more used to fast technological change, and established firms risk losing relevance if they are not up to date.

Younger staff can potentially bring a pipeline to a younger market of prospects.  They understand the needs and challenges of their own generation and can communicate and empathize on the same level. They can even help you with your own book by being the bridge to the children ( and grandchildren!) of your own clients.  With guidance and increasing autonomy young salespeople will be  motivated to grow their own book and bring in more assets for the business. With your mentoring all their natural and learned skills can be brought to bear for you.

Advisory firms need to think about what will attract and retain young talent. To attract ideal candidates, you will need to demonstrate available career paths, and that you invest in professional development. You will need to show that the firm is up to date with digital technology, and if not, that you are looking for someone to help with that.  There is a very good chance that candidates will have great ideas for how you might use technology better, but if your website looks old and dull and your LinkedIn page has not been updated for weeks then, you are unlikely to be attracting the best-in-class. It is worth investing some time in your digital assets before you make the job posting.

Mentoring is crucial in any field, but right now the financial planning industry is experiencing a pivotal moment. Firms will find success in combining the experience of seasoned professionals with the digital-savvy of younger advisors.