A growing number of baby boomers prefer to get their financial advice from fellow boomers, insists Paul Mauro, chief executive of Legacy Financial Advisors Inc., Milford, Mass.
Mauro thinks boomers value life experience over advanced degrees and youth in their financial advisors. It’s for that reason that he is focusing his recruitment efforts on candidates in their 50s and 60s who are interested in second careers as financial professionals.
A scarcity of qualified advisors is forcing him to recruit candidates from outside the industry, he explains.
“There’s a talent shortage,” Mauro says. “There’s no shortage of hacks, of people who aren’t honest, sorry to say. But there is a dramatic shortage of true financial advisors who approach consumers without an agenda.”
Moreover, boomers relate well to other boomers who have been through the same financial issues they face, Mauro believes.
“Our clients are 50 to 75 years old,” he explains. “They do not relate well to young professionals with fresh degrees and new suits. They regard their advice on financial and estate planning as theoretical. To our clients, a Ph.D. in life is more valuable than an M.B.A.”
Mauro defines someone with a “Ph.D. in life” as an individual with extensive business experience who has walked through life’s many corridors, including supporting college-age children, caring for aging parents and making their own retirement and lifestyle decisions.
Major financial firms are also interested in experienced business people who want to begin a second career as financial advisors, agrees Carri Degenhardt-Burke, president of Degenhardt Consulting, Jersey City, N.J., a recruiting firm.
“A lot of times, it’s for their contacts,” she says. “They know a lot more people than someone who’s coming out of Harvard.”
Howard Diamond, chief operating officer of another recruiter, Diamond Consultants, Chester, N.J., has observed the same trend.
Financial firms “are looking for a second-career person with a Rolodex, someone who has more savvy than someone out of school,” he says.
Diamond notes that Morgan Stanley recently fired hundreds of trainees because many just weren’t cutting it. But they still need financial advisors.
“We were told by Morgan Stanley that among the candidates they’re looking for are second- or third-career people,” he says.
Diamond recently interviewed an older candidate with a science background and extensive sales experience.
“He took his contacts and went independent for one of the regional brokerages,” he says. “It’s an interesting twist. Firms are not necessarily looking at boomers as such, but they do want the kind of depth that could be molded into a good financial advisor.”