When Caleb Brown graduated from the Texas Tech financial planning program in 2002, it took him a while to get an advisor to “take a risk” and hire him. After that, he saw a lot of qualified students “who were built to be great financial planners” leave the industry entirely because they couldn’t find a job or the jobs they did get weren’t right.
“I said to myself ever since that point, ‘We can’t continue as a profession if we continue to lose these quality people, so I’m going to try to do everything I can for this not to happen,’” Brown said in an April interview.
Since then, Brown has served on the board of directors for FPA Dallas-Fort Worth, where he implemented a career day program that has been adopted by several other chapters.
“Up until that time, career development meant, ‘We’re going to provide a program for the 55-year-old CFP, business owner, bald-headed guy,’” Brown said. “And I said, ‘We’re not going to do that anymore.’”
Brown started a program that focused on career changers and students, educating them on the career options the financial services industry provides. “Here are the different kinds of firm models, compensation models,” he said. “They don’t get a lot of that in their classes.”
He started New Planner Recruiting in 2009 with Michael Kitces (also an IA 25 honoree this year) and now spends the majority of his time helping firms “get it right” when it comes to bringing in the next generation of talent.
Attracting the next generation isn’t much different from attracting new clients, Brown argues: firms need to differentiate themselves. “When I’m on the phone talking to candidates, I’ve got to have something that I can get them excited about. If they’re any good, they’re going to have two or three different offers. If my client doesn’t have a good story to tell, I’m never going to get the position filled.”
Beyond that, firms need to offer students the opportunity to grow into advisors. “New planners want to have exposure to client meetings, they want to do meaningful work,” Brown said. “They want to make sure they’re heard and their opinions are at least considered,” even if they aren’t implemented.