The key to adding young advisors to firms is offering opportunities to work with people, a survey released March 6 by Schwab Advisor Services found. The No. 1 role students want in a financial services firm is relationship management.
Schwab conducted the survey among more than 100 students studying personal financial planning at Texas Tech. It found that only 27% of respondents said they would consider a product development and delivery role ideal.
“Our goal is to help people prepare to work at an RIA firm,” Nick Georgis, vice president of practice management and strategic business development for Schwab, told AdvisorOne on Friday. “The survey found what they’re looking for makes them a great fit for an independent advisory firm.”
Considering those aspirations, it’s not surprising that students prioritize what Schwab calls “soft skills”: communication, problem solving and self-motivation. Almost all respondents said being able to communicate and build relationships with all types of people was a very important skill in the financial services industry, followed closely by being able to identify and understand challenges and provide a solution. Almost 70% said self-motivation was an important skill.
Students are putting those values into action. The study found 70% of students said relationship building was one of their key strengths. Sixty-eight percent said their problem solving skills were their strongest ability.
However, some students may need to focus on their understanding of financial markets and investment strategies. More than two-thirds of respondents said that understanding was “very important,” but just 40% said their abilities in that area were strong. Nearly 60% said they had only “some ability” in understanding financial markets and investment strategies.