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What’s Your Plan for Training New Financial Planners?

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As college graduation season approaches, some wealth managers may be preparing to welcome new college graduates into their firms. At Joseph Capital Management, LLC, a fee-only registered investment advisor (RIA) in Hernando Fla., they have just hired their first right-out-of-college advisor, who is in training now. Ron Rhoades, a private wealth manager, director of research and chief compliance office at the firm explains their training initiative.

The firm was “started by CPAs and attorneys,” Rhoades (left) says. “We have two CPAs and two attorneys,” three of whom are now Certified Financial Planners (CFPs). “We also have a trust officer who is on her way to becoming a CFP—with 20-years of experience—and a professor of economics who is semi-retired and one of our advisors.”

Rhoades says it will take two or three months for the new hire to prepare for the Series 65 exam, “studying part time while they’re training at our firm.” It “really takes five or six months of fairly intensive training just to learn all of the policies and procedures in our firm and really enable the person to function every day.”

Because we use a passive investment methodology and fairly structured portfolios for our clients, learning the investment side of the business is not terribly difficult. It’s important, of course, to know the investment strategies and theories and products we do use. There’s a discrete body of knowledge that’s acquired through going to conferences and a lot of in-house study,” Rhoades explains.

Rhoades says they like to have their advisors in training “sit with another advisor and assist another advisor in facing clients almost as immediately [after] they walk in the door. They may not say anything much in the first couple of months,” he notes, but they interact more “once they get licensed and get trained in our policies and procedures.” Then the senior advisors will have them start to communicate with clients “on smaller matters.”  When something comes up that they are not comfortable with the advisor is trained to quickly say the will “get back” to the client and go to the senior advisor for the answer.

Ongoing Tax Training

“We emphasize tax a lot, and that tax education is an ongoing thing at our firm. On the financial planning side of it, we think it takes five to 10 years to become a really good financial planner,” Rhoades’ asserts. “That’s going to various conferences and studying and taking the CFP exam. It just takes a lot of experience to know everything you should know to sit down with a client and really be able to discuss just about any issue that comes up.”

An advocate for extending the fiduciary standard to all who provide advice to individual investors, Rhoades is a member of the Committee for the Fiduciary Standard, as is this editor. Rhoades is known for his papers, written testimony and comments to regulators on proposed rules regarding fiduciary duty.