By now, most baby boom and Gen X financial advisors know about the great generational shift that’s happening in the financial services industry. They know that technology is more important than ever, that their practices must become more scalable to survive into the future, and that any new people they hire must be tech-savvy.
The only problem is that older advisors are still trying to figure out how to connect on a personal level with the millennials whom they hope will some day take over their practices. And those millennials, meanwhile, are trying to decide whether they can be happy building a career and a business in the advisory industry.
“The best advantage older advisors have is that millennials are the most connected generation in history,” said business expert Nigel Dessau in a phone interview. “The downside is that the baby boomer or Gen X advisor is motivated by status, power and money. The millennials are less focused on these things and more focused on whether their life has purpose.” Dessau, chief marketing officer at Boston-based Stratus Technologies and author of Become a 21st Century Executive, said millennials have grown up knowing how to network, and they network often with technology — which is a real advantage for advisors.
“If you’re a financial advisor, the lifeblood of your business is retaining your clients and bringing in new clients. Millennials can bring new life into your advisory business,” he said.
A sticking point is that most millennials — fully 91 percent of them, according to a new survey conducted by WorkplaceTrends.com — aspire to be leaders, and 58 percent of them think they already have the skills to be leaders. In addition, they prefer to have fewer managers, with 83 percent saying they would prefer to work for a company with fewer layers of management.
Yet millennials tend to view leadership differently from their seniors.
“Almost half of millennials define leadership as ‘empowering others to succeed,’ and when asked what their biggest motivator was to be a leader, 43 percent said ‘empowering others,’ while only 5 percent said money and 1 percent said power,” WorkplaceTrends.com reported.
Rather than view millennials as spoiled children, baby boomer and Gen X advisors would do well to see them as idealists who want to find meaning and even a sense of family in their careers, Dessau said.