What You Need to Know
- It's important that the industry has a process to introduce the next generation to the business and train them.
- Commonwealth works with affiliates and university programs to set up internships.
- One student liked working with a private firm that gave her a broader experience.
Progressing from financial planning student to client service professional takes preparation. Advisors work hard to find, interview and mentor the next generation of talent, who wish to join a business — not a sales organization. Therefore, it’s imperative to support them in learning necessary business development (rainmaking) skills as part of the overall process.
What are best practices when hiring from top financial planning schools in the country? Our firm continues to learn from and with students alongside our advisor community to create opportunities for success as they emerge into the industry.
Charting a Path
My colleague Patricia Ferris, a senior program manager in Commonwealth’s Practice Management department, and I recently spoke with Kris Maksimovich, president of Global Wealth Advisors in Dallas, who mentored Kamryn Barkley from intern to client service associate at his firm. Barkley graduated from the Personal Financial Planning program at the top-ranked financial planning school Texas Tech in the spring.
Through her university’s program and its partnership with Commonwealth, Barkley was part of a group of intern candidates given the opportunity to attend our annual national conference in 2019. She notes, “Commonwealth was so attractive to me, the company as a whole. It stood out to me because it is private.”
Barkley received a packet of information on eight independent financial services firms before the conference, one of which was Maksimovich’s firm. Likewise, Maksimovich received a packet of information to evaluate potential interns he would meet at the event. This allowed both parties to zero in on a potential mutual fit. Barkley quickly realized that working for Global Wealth Advisors could provide wide-ranging industry exposure, enabling her to learn the business from the inside.
As part of the internship experience, which got underway just as the COVID-19 pandemic was spreading across the country, Barkley trained with Maksimovich and listened in on remote client meetings — a privilege many of her peers did not receive. According to Barkley, “There are a lot of things that cannot be taught or learned in the classroom.”
To encourage engagement and learning during the pandemic, Maksimovich asked Barkley three questions every day:
- What’s something you learned?
- What’s something you put to work or implemented?
- What’s something you’d like to learn more about?
Under the direction of an experienced advisor, Barkley explored financial planning software, identified learning gaps, and advanced her skills, knowledge and client connection points.