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Industry Spotlight > RIAs

TD Ameritrade Emphasizes ‘NextGen’ Commitment With New Exec-Level Position

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TD Ameritrade Institutional became the first custodian to create a full-time executive position dedicated to the sustainability of independent registered investment advisors when it named Kate Healy as Managing Director of Generation Next.

“We know that RIAs are really having a problem with this whole next generation succession planning,” Healy told ThinkAdvisor. Adding that, “it was really important that we dedicate an entire role to just really making sure that we are giving advisors what they need and that we are making sure that they understand how important this is.”

Healy has her work cut out for her.

The RIA industry is facing a significant talent shortage: roughly 110,000 advisors are expected to retire over the next 10 years, a flood of departures offset by only a trickle of new talent. Overall, personal financial advisor jobs are expected to increase 30% by 2024, more than four times the average growth rate for all occupations.

And yet, Healy says there’s only a couple thousand students in financial planning programs.

“We’re not graduating big numbers,” she told ThinkAdvisor. “We’ve got a lot of work to do there to make the programs more visible.”

In her new role, Healy oversees TD Ameritrade Institutional’s industry-leading NextGen initiatives, including scholarships, grants, a career exchange and an internship network, all designed to help RIA firms bring younger and more diverse talent into the business.

Healy, who was formerly the head of Institutional Marketing, has long been an advocate for women and young professionals at TD Ameritrade, and she will continue to dedicate herself full-time to advocacy efforts around NextGen, women and diversity.

A critical focus for Healy in her new position is helping connect RIAs with college financial planning programs and building a pipeline for future talent. TD Ameritrade Institutional’s latest RIA survey finds that only one third of RIAs hire interns. And the survey also found that those that do have interns, the majority are finding them through local colleges or word-of-mouth – not through financial planning programs.

“There are two-thirds of advisors that still don’t hire an intern from a financial planning school,” Healy said. “And I will tell you that in the wirehouse world, they all hire interns.”

According to Healy, almost 80% of interns are going into the wirehouse world.

“That is going to be really damaging to RIAs if they can’t capture this talent,” she added. “It’s imperative that RIAs get on board and they really focus on creating intern programs and bringing students into the schools, and from other disciplines quite frankly.”

TD Ameritrade has also made it a priority to building the advisor pipeline to bigger than students in financial planning programs at universities. Because, as Healy said, “that won’t fill the need that we have over the next 10 years.”

TD Ameritrade has partnered with CFP Board’s career re-entry initiative. to bring in women who have been in different careers. Healy also said they’ll start to look at ways that they can engage the military.

In conjunction with Healy’s announcement, TD Ameritrade also announced its 5th annual NextGen RIA Scholarships.

The firm awarded scholarships of $5,000 each to 12 students pursuing bachelor’s degrees in financial planning – two of which were for students from under-represented demographic groups to help increase racial, ethnic and gender diversity in the RIA industry.

Healy said there was an almost 50% increase in the applications for student scholarships this year. She also said she was excited to see that six of the scholarship winners are female.

The 2017 RIA NextGen Scholarship winners are:

  • Emilee Boyer at Texas Tech University,
  • Alec Broughton at Western Kentucky University,
  • Calli Case at Utah Valley University,
  • Meghan Hogan at University of Georgia,
  • Megan Kapala at Illinois State University,
  • Nolan Keim at Kansas State University,
  • Audrey Mitchell at University of Georgia,
  • Josh Pollard at Utah Valley University,
  • Caishalynne Richins at Utah Valley University,
  • August Snelbaker at Western Kentucky University,
  • Zach Tekamp at Virginia Polytechnic Institute, and
  • Adam Wilkins at Alfred State University (SUNY).

TD Ameritrade also awarded grants totaling $75,000 to two universities, as part of its effort to encourage more schools to develop or enhance their financial planning degree programs, and help increase the ranks of graduates joining the RIA industry. This year, California State University – Fullerton received a $50,000 grant for its established program, while Prairie View A&M University received a $25,000 emerging program grant to help launch its emerging program.

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