“We’re not going to go out and just recruit for purposes of recruiting,” says Chris Flint, head of Lincoln Financial Securities and senior vice president/head of Advisor & Acquisition Strategies for Lincoln Financial Network.
Flint recently paid a visit to our sister site, ThinkAdvisor’s, New York office.
“We first focus on retention strategy, and we look at how we drive improved productivity throughout our existing population of advisors,” he added. “To go out and acquire new talent for purposes of acquiring new talent, meaning the end retail advisor, can be a zero-sum game.”
Flint manages the recruiting process throughout Lincoln Financial Network, which is the independent wealth management division within Lincoln Financial Group and supports nearly 8,500 advisors across the country.
Flint says 2014 and 2013 were LFN’s best recruiting years ever.
“We’re relatively a large footprint nationally,” he said, adding, “We had a 2 percent net growth in our advisor headcount.”
When it comes to recruiting, LFN focuses on three demographics within the organization: asset gatherers, financial planners and insurance planners.
“When we look at the type of firms we recruit from, they tend to be wires, independents and other independent insurers,” Flint says.
LFN has also taken several initiatives within the past year in its approach to advisor recruitment.
An early-2014 grassroots initiative — born out of a conversation with some of its top female practitioners — became what is known today as Lincoln’s WISE Group. WISE, which stands for Women Inspiring, Supporting, Educating, supports female advisors within the firm and female clients in their pursuit of knowledge and services within the financial planning industry. Flint describes WISE as “a cooperative that was born out of the field and is now joined to our corporate initiative to creating more diversity.”
Another recent initiative called GEN 2 is a Lincoln Financial Network joint venture with The Resource Group (TRG) — a group of elite advisors working together to provide networking opportunities, support and intellectual capital to the larger advisor community.
GEN 2 focuses on the next generation of advisors, Flint says. The program is designed to help an identified advisor successor develop a plan with an established advisor to integrate into the advisor’s practice. It provides industry training, coaching and practice management insights.
LFN’s other initiative, Flint says, is bringing in more diversity, in terms of gender, ethnicity and race.