Advisors and their clients are aging together. A Cerulli report released in January found the average age of a financial advisors is almost 51, and 43% are over 55. By 2030, all the baby boomers will be 65 or older and about 18% of the population will be in retirement—or at least at retirement age—according to Pew Research Center population projections.
What does that mean for the industry? Many of this year’s IA 25 honorees recognized that a new generation of clients needs a new generation of advisors to serve it. In an industry rife with competition, there was a general consensus—not to mention optimism—about the future of the profession.
In his interview with Editor-in-Chief Jamie Green, Clark showed “palpable excitement” about the next generation of advisors. Furthermore, he pointed out that those darn kids aren’t very different from the older generation of advisors.
“The generation that’s coming behind: They look familiar, they talk about having balance in their lives, they want relationships, almost 70% want to be in relationship management,” Clark said. And while they may be more likely than older advisors to build relationships online as well as in person, the next generation is interested in “making long life choices and will be socially responsible,” Clark said, “but so was ours.”
(Photo: Tom McKenzie)
Brown told Executive Managing Editor Danielle Andrus that some firms are “taking the same approach to developing their new talent to develop their next generation of clients. Someone who doesn’t have $2 million to manage but who is 30 years old and is going to earn a lot of income, let’s turn them into a good client.”
Similarly, firms are looking for candidates while they’re still students by creating internship or “residency” programs. “It’s like a baseball team,” he said. “Let’s see what our farm team looks like and see if we want to make a hire.”
(Photo: Stan Kaady)
As professors in Texas Tech’s personal financial planning program, Evensky and Katz are committed to the next generation of advisors.
“We have to get our heads out of the sand” about solving real-world problems, Katz said at a CFA conference in Seattle. In an interview with the couple in early May, Evensky agreed that issues like finding new talent and helping veteran advisors attract ones to the profession “are important; they’re all critical.” He said he and Katz “share the passion” about finding answers to these next gen questions. Katz quoted Robert Schiller, the University of Chicago academic, in saying, “We have to solve real world problems, not just do what we’ve been doing.”
Tibergien has noticed a lot of advisors don’t want to share firm ownership with younger advisors. “How many times have you heard advisors say, ‘There’s no way I can let an employee become an owner until they’ve suffered as much as I have.’?” he asked Jamie Green in an April interview, adding that such bias is bewildering. After all, most older advisors “were at one point younger advisors—they weren’t born with grey hair and hemorrhoids” yet somehow “they were able to build businesses.”