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RIAs, Broker-Dealers Neglecting Crucial Recruiting Channels: Poll

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Seventy-two percent of broker-dealer and registered investment advisor firm executives in a new poll believe the industry is facing a talent shortage.

The Fidelity Institutional poll, released Thursday, found that acquiring or recruiting new talent was a top strategic priority for these firms.

So far, however, most firms were not thinking outside the box about how to attract candidates, according to the survey. Sixty-one percent of executives said one of their main strategies to find new talent was referrals and word of mouth.

But Fidelity noted that an earlier study had found that only 30% of new hires came from referral networks.

Instead, Gen Y candidates leveraged online tools, such as student/alumni directories and social networking sites, when looking for work — resources that firms may overlook.

Fidelity’s new poll, conducted May 3–6, was based on responses to a questionnaire by 132 RIA and correspondent broker-dealer Fidelity clients attending the firm’s annual Executive Forum client event.

According to the poll, firms were seeking to attract recruits by differentiating themselves from their competitors. Executives’ main tactics:

  • Culture, cited by 66%
  • Brand/reputation, cited by 47%
  • Firm growth, cited by 35%

“Some of the best recruiting strategies we’ve seen have nothing to do with the act of recruiting itself, but originate from the core of the firm,” David Canter, executive vice president of practice management and consulting at Fidelity Clearing & Custody, said in a statement.

“It’s about distinguishing their firm from all the rest through their mission, their values and their strategic priorities.”

The poll also found that some RIAs and broker-dealers had begun to recognize the need to look farther afield for candidates.

“Many respondents told us that they had successfully recruited advisor talent from this, 46% cited compensation and 36 outside of the financial advice industry,” Canter said.

Accounting and law were sources of talent, he said, and so too were human resources, the military and even education.

Retaining and developing existing staff is also critical for RIAs and broker dealers.

In the survey, 50% of respondents cited career-pathing as their chief strategy for doing this, 46% cited compensation and 36% work/life balance.