I’ve been hearing a lot lately about how the technology explosion in advisory firms is reducing job opportunities for young advisors. The idea seems to be that the increased use of software and Internet platforms in today’s advisory practices is performing many of the functions that advisors used to hire junior advisors to do, leaving them with fewer jobs to fill throughout the industry.
In my experience, just the opposite is true: That the greater reliance on technology in the advisory world is creating more opportunities for young advisors than ever before. Sure, the efficiencies created by digital technology do reduce the need for some jobs, but not the jobs that young advisors are trained to do. From typing to answering phones to executing trades, today’s technology has greatly reduced the number of people—and hours of labor—needed to make a thriving advisory practice work. But, even 15 years ago, young advisors were rarely hired for those jobs anyway.
The growth of the independent advisory business has always been about leverage: leveraging senior advisors so they can work with more clients, and bring in more new business. Hiring clerical staff is typically the first step toward that leverage. The second was hiring a junior advisor or two to take even more functions off senior advisors’ plates—writing financial plans, researching investment options, rebalancing portfolios, etc. In recent years, technology has added a whole new level of leverage, some that replaces clerical staff, but mostly with applications that greatly expand the capabilities of those junior advisors.