Running up against the limits of a recruitment strategy based on swiping advisor talent from their competitors, leading wealth management firms are trying a new ploy: Growing their own.
With so many regionals, wirehouses and independents intent on poaching top talent in recent years, there has been little to no emphasis on cultivating a new generation of advisors. “They may have taken their eye off the ball when it comes to developing fresh young talent,” says
But faced with a rapidly aging advisor workforce—the average advisor age was 51.5 in 2012 and is advancing each year, according to data from Cerulli Associates—a tentative shift is taking place, as a number of top firms have put programs in place over the past few months to train new advisors from within their own ranks.
Although modest in scope, these programs are a sign that the wealth management industry may finally be getting serious – and creative – about expanding the pool of potential new advisors.
The 10 trainees in the year-long program will receive mentoring from members of Raymond James’ Women’s
“There are a number of senior FAs that are looking for junior teammates. We’re creating a pipeline for them,” Lombard says.
Aite’s Butterfield notes that new advisors face a steep learning curve and intense pressure to meet revenue targets, but that a training program that provides mentorship and allows the newcomers to work on a team can ease the process.
With that goal in mind, UBS is expanding a pilot training program that it launched last year. Trainees in the two-year program work under the guidance of a complex director in a team setting. Trainees first become wealth planning analysts, while they work towards their CFP designation, and then transition into positions as financial advisors.
The Swiss bank started with two classes of about 30 students each and will add three more classes, with about 25 students each, this year. The classes will be staggered so that there will be a senior and junior trainee at each UBS complex.
Although the program is small,
Experiments in training aren’t limited to regional and wirehouse firms. Securities America, an independent broker-dealer with
Verboon says the program will be a mainstay for how Securities America and its advisors hire and train new recruits. While senior advisors will usually recruit the trainees, Securities America will provide the training framework for them. Between six and 10 advisors are in the training program at any given time.
The online module approach is well suited for Securities America’s advisor network, many whom have developed specific marketing and client niches. “Unlike the very large institutional firms, which train advisors in a specific way,” Verboon says, “the independent world doesn’t operate like that.”
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