TDAI’s Kate Healy: Shortages of Women, Next-Gen Advisors Intertwined

Flexibility of the profession is appealing, as is opportunity to earn high salaries

A UCLA student. (Photo: AP) A UCLA student. (Photo: AP)

Kate Healy touted the success of TD Ameritrade Institutional’s next-gen and female advisor initiatives recently in an interview with ThinkAdvisor at FPA Experience 2013, noting that the two issues are intertwined and one could potentially solve for the other.

While at the conference, the managing director of institutional marketing with the Omaha-based custodian said she had run into a number of students awarded scholarships by the firm in August.

“Last year, we announced the establishment of the program to award 10 scholarships of $5,000 each as well as a grant of $50,000 to a school that offers a financial planning major,” Healy said. "I’ve seen the recipients here, and they come up to me and are so thankful. They are great ambassadors for the program.”

The grant was awarded to William Paterson University, in part “because they teach the softer skills with financial planning, in addition to the numbers, which can be tough. But the way they do it is something that can be replicated in other programs,” she noted.

It’s part of a plan by TDAI to provide $1 million over the next decade to expand the number of college students pursuing a career in the financial services industry. It joins a number of other firms and groups that are actively seeking to replace retiring advisors in the aging advisor industry with a fresh group of new recruits.

She described a day at the stock exchange the company recently hosted with the scholarship winners and their parents, one that also included a visit to the Museum of American Finance before heading back to the exchange to stand on the podium and ring the closing bell.

“The privilege was all ours to host these students. [TD Ameritrade President and CEO] Fred Tomczyk and [TD Ameritrade Institutional president] Tom Nally both spent the day getting to know the students and learning about ways we can help encourage and inspire more students to enter the field.  It was a great opportunity for Fred and Tom to spend the day with the next generation of advisors."

As to the issue of attracting more female professionals to financial planning, something with which Healy is heavily involved, she noted the flexibility of the profession is appealing to many women, “as is the opportunity for them to earn high salaries.”

“We find that when the financial planning program is offered in the business schools, it attracts fewer women,” she concluded. “More schools are beginning to offer it, believe it or not, through their agriculture or home economics schools. The reason is twofold; they’re able to grant women more scholarships and the ratio of women to men is higher than 30% to 70% currently seen in traditional programs.”

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Check out Not Enough Women in the Industry: Raymond James Execs on ThinkAdvisor.

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