Michael Kitces Launches Recruiting Screening Tool for Financial Planners

Service will combine criminal, background, reference checks with personality profiles and skills assessment

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Michael KitcesNew Planner Recruiting, one of a seemingly endless line of projects involving planner and industry personality Michael Kitces (a ThinkAdvisor contributor), announced Monday that it had launched a standalone service to offer screening of financial planning candidates for advisory practices.  

Caleb Brown, founding partner of the firm along with Kitces (left), said the new product will not only thoroughly screen candidates for credit history, criminal background checks, FINRA and SEC licensing verification and  reference checks, but it will also include a job personality profile and a proprietary financial planning skills and knowledge assessment tools.

“We like to keep tabs at what’s out there, and there’s nothing really as differentiating as this product,” Brown told ThinkAdvisor. “There are plenty of firms that do the criminal and credit background checks, but what sets us apart is the detailed analysis we provide.”

That detailed analysis includes a combination of technical questions, Microsoft Excel usage and having the candidate develop and financial plan, “almost like a mini CFP exam.”

When asked if the new product was requested by the marketplace or simply the next iteration of the firm, Brown said both.

“We have full, comprehensive recruiting services we provide for our clients,” he explained. “We might have former clients that were happy with our placement but we’re not doing anything for them on an ongoing basis. They’d come to us and say, ‘Hey, can you use you tests and screens for us again for a candidate we’ve got.’ I’d say yes, but because we weren’t involved in the consulting, I’d just hand over the facts.”

It sparked an idea, and the new product was born.

The New Planner Recruiting candidate screening service will be offered at three pricing tiers–Silver, Gold, and Platinum–with a basic package that includes licensing, criminal, credit, and other background checks, and a premium version that includes all of NPR’s knowledge and skills assessment tools. Pricing will vary from $199 to $599 per candidate, and most firms are expected to put two to three “finalist” candidates through the process at once to compare and contrast when making a final decision about a potential job offer.

“What excites me most about this new offering is our proprietary set of skills and knowledge assessment tools to evaluate the capabilities of a prospective new financial planner to really do the work required in the job,” Kitces added. “We are the only firm in the industry to offer advisory firms this kind of unique and comprehensive assessment of the abilities of a potential new financial planner.”

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