The question is growing ever more urgent: What to do with the growing number of aging advisors and the lacking number of the next generation successors?
James Kerr, president of D.A. Davidson Cos., provided what he called a “different perspective” on how to solve the increasing number of advisors nearing retirement.
“Probably because I’m getting to that age of 65,” he said during a breakout session focusing on the private client business at SIFMA’s annual meeting in New York on Monday.
Kerr’s suggestion — instead of solely focusing on recruiting younger generations — focuses on keeping advisors around longer.
“We have a lot of advisors in this range that, frankly, their life expectancy now — if they’ve made it to 65 — is somewhere around 83 to 84 years old,” Kerr said. “They’ve got a lot of life left in them, and I think it’s an opportunity to recruit those individuals to stay with us.”
Kerr, who on a recent Internet search was looking for the origins of the retirement age as 65, found some evidence that Germany had established a retirement age of 65 in 1880.
“Nobody was living that long, so it was financially very feasible,” Kerr said. “But here we are, what, 135 years later and we’re still talking about 65 and all of us have advisors that are this age. And, frankly, I think they talk themselves into the fact that they need to [retire].”
Joining Kerr on Monday’s SIFMA panel was Brand Meyer, senior managing director and head of Independent Brokerage Group for Wells Fargo Advisors.
“When we talk about the age of our financial advisors across the business — which is, give or take a couple years, probably 55 — people make it sound like they’re on their last legs,” Meyer said. “Which, quite honestly, isn’t the case.”
Kerr added that his firm has found success in teaming younger partners with older advisors.
“Teaming in our firm is a big deal now,” he said, adding “… and younger advisors teaming with older advisors seems like a great combination.”
Meyer agreed with this team approach.