“Firms are really waking up to the fact that they need to have a more diverse work force in order to attract the next generation of clients,” Kate Healy, managing director of institutional marketing at TD Ameritrade Institutional, said on Thursday. “Tom [Nally] talked this morning about the millennials being much more diverse than any other generation, and I think firms are really starting to see it.”
Healy said TD is working to find ways for firms to connect with students, including internship and scholarship programs. The firm announced Thursday that it’s adding to scholarships that focus on women and people of color to bring the total number of scholarships on offer to 12.
Part of the problem is that young people just don’t know these jobs are out there, according to Vanessa Oligino, product manager of practice management at TD. To millennials, the financial services industry is as esoteric as professional beekeepers or acrobats. “A colleague of mine is engaged to a master mason. What is that, right?”
Finance students are being pushed toward investment banking, consulting firms and big banks, Oligino said. “Those are the careers that everybody knows about, but I think there are some other interesting careers, such as becoming an RIA, and they just don’t know about them.”
To help advisors reach out to students, TD put together guidebooks and resources on starting an internship program, including how to develop a relationship with schools that offer a financial planning program.
“The second part of that module is how do you hire the right people? What are the interview skills that you need and how do you craft that internship program — we understand that advisory firms don’t have human resources departments to do all this for them, so it’s kind of this internship-in-a-box — and how to transition that person to a full-time employee if that’s the way you want to go,” Healy said.
Healy’s group also created a closed LinkedIn group specifically for the young advisors and students considering the career to network. “We found they were a little wary about going into some of these smaller firms, to make sure that they had succession planning in place, that there would be career development for them,” Healy said.
The image of millennials as lazy or entitled is a “misperception,” Healy said. “They want to do the work, they just want to know that the work is going to lead somewhere.”
Advisors should also start looking for qualified candidates in adjacent industries. “I do think that career changers is an area that we need to start to focus on,” Healy said.