As the industry scrambles to find new financial advisors among an ever-shrinking pool of candidates, firms and branch managers say they are seeing one promising area of growth: The sales assistants and client associates that work shoulder to shoulder with advisors, but until recently have never been considered their replacements.
The dismal results of most brokerages’ training programs have been impossible to ignore. Fewer than 20 percent of trainees survive a four-year training program, says
“Client and sales associates are already on the front lines of the business,” says
According to a 2011 survey by
At the end of 2013, RJA launched an advisor development program specifically for registered service associates. The program is aimed at bringing more women into the advisory ranks and providing potential successors for retiring advisors.
“At one of our recent Women’s Network gatherings we asked for a show of hands from advisors who had begun their careers as sales or service associates. At least 30 percent of the audience raised their hands. And of the members of our Women’s
“We knew immediately we had a very deep pool of potential advisor candidates already at the firm,” she continues. “It was just a matter of developing the right curriculum, assessing the right candidates and launching a pilot program to see where that leads.”
The yearlong program involves teaming sales associates up with advisors for mentoring, as well as on-line and in-person educational programs. Two candidates from each of RJA’s five geographic divisions have been accepted into the program.
"The job of client associate has evolved to really require focus on financial planning," says a wirehouse branch manager who asked not to be identified. "It's not enough to just answer the phone. They’re putting in orders, and making trades. So, a year or two in to their roles, it’s only natural for some look at the advisors they work for, whom they see receive generous pay and bonuses, and think to themselves ‘I can do that.’”
Not For Everyone
Still, the majority of sales and client associates don’t want to become financial advisors. “I’d say the average client associate is a woman in her mid-40s,” adds a regional branch manager on the
What’s more, not all associates have college degrees, and many aren’t registered as client associates. Nor do they want to become rainmakers. Younger sales associates who are college educated and registered are typically the most likely to be interested in the job.
Another thing, Amigo notes: “We’ve found that client associates become successful advisors when they join a team after their training. Those who try to go solo from the start haven’t seen the same level of success.”
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|Source:||Penton Business Media|