Financial advisors have a difficult job: keeping up with the markets, following ever-changing regulations, growing their business, protecting clients’ assets, and sometimes even protecting clients from themselves when a market drop or hot new investment trend makes a bad idea look good.
In fact, a survey conducted late last year by Adhesion found more than two-thirds of advisors rated their stress level as 7 or higher on a 10-point scale, even though 90% said they enjoyed their work.
Advisors who are adding “looking for new talent” to their list of stressors at work should have an established process for bringing new advisors into the firm to make sure they’re a good fit and up for the job, according to Matt Matrisian, senior vice president of practice management and strategic initiatives at AssetMark.
“If there is burnout, what I see is advisors who haven’t really thought through the onboarding process and what these individuals are going to do within their firms,” Matrisian told ThinkAdvisor on Monday. When new advisors aren’t given proper training and mentorship, naturally they’re more likely to fail. “They bring them in and expect them to execute like they would, and that’s where we find some of the conflict coming into play.”
The firms that do a good job of sourcing talent and onboarding new advisors have an established methodology and philosophy, like a dedicated internship program or training program.
The real hiring crisis is not that young advisors are burning out, though; they’re not showing up in the first place. As older advisors retire, there aren’t enough young advisors to take their place.
“That’s where we see a lot of the downtick in advisors,” Matrisian said. “We just don’t have a large number of junior advisors coming in and back filling that talent. The luster of the financial services industry has waned from the ’80s and ’90s.”
That’s not surprising if you look at the version of the financial services industry that most millennials have grown up with, he said. “Between the challenges of the market in 2000-2001, and certainly the crisis in 2008, then a lot of the media coverage about the negative publicity around Wall Street, it really left a bad taste in their mouths.”
Schools with financial planning programs like Virginia Tech or Texas Tech are working to re-educate students on what financial planning really is, he added.
Matrisian suggested advisors looking to add new talent to their firms develop internship programs, not just with those big schools, but with local community colleges too.
One of the benefits to an internship program, he said, is it doesn’t require a big commitment from the advisor. “I can rotate interns on a three- to four-month commitment and view their work habits, how they work with clients and with staff,” he said.
Obviously interns won’t be starting out in front of clients, he said, so advisors should look for candidates who are “project-oriented. They should be highly skilled and motivated” to help with other initiatives in the firm. For example, interns can help implement a new CRM system or other technology solution, or help perform a profitability analysis, Matrisian suggested.
“Then advisors can cherry-pick the best candidates” to join the firm. New hires will require “some level of mentorship” before they’re ready to work with clients, he said.
Matrisian pointed to one issue that’s becoming familiar to financial professionals: robo-advisors. While not necessarily a disruptor in how advisors find and hire new talent, robos are putting pressure on advisors’ staff. As online advice providers democratize financial advice for investors with fewer assets than financial firms traditionally target, “advisors will have to scale their business to reach a wider client base,” Matrisian said.
Firms that are currently servicing 100 to 150 clients will have to think about new ways leverage their technology and partners to efficiently serve 200 to 300 clients, he said.
“Robo-advisors are a catalyst for change in the service model and engagement model,” he said.
— Check out What Stresses Out Advisors Most? on ThinkAdvisor.