The Rise of the Next Generation

By James Sullivan, Managing Director, Advisor Advocacy & Technology

Next-generation financial advisors, often in their 20s and 30s, are bringing fresh perspectives, technological savvy, and an innate understanding of their peers’ financial needs. As the industry evolves, recruiting and mentoring young professionals is not only beneficial, but essential for the future of our profession. This evolution is not without its challenges, including navigating the independent space and overcoming presumptions of inexperience from both investors and more tenured advisors. Here are some key considerations as we look to attract the next generation along with direct perspectives from next-gen star, Ryan Brunnock, Financial Advisor at Trinity Financial Strategies.

Recruiting the Right Talent

Recruiting young talent into a financial practice requires a shift in mindset. Instead of focusing solely on experience, firms should seek out individuals with a blend of technical proficiency, interpersonal skills, and a forward-thinking approach. By targeting universities, hosting internships, and engaging with professional associations, firms can identify and attract young professionals who are eager to make an impact in the financial profession. Moreover, offering mentorship and career development opportunities can entice young talent to join a practice, providing them with a clear growth path and a sense of purpose.

In the independent space, be prepared to offer clarity around what you’ll perhaps take on expense wise and what’s expected of the next-gen advisor covering everything from real estate, benefits, branding, assistant sharing and more.

Cracking the Mentorship Code

Integrating next-generation advisors is a two-way learning process. Seasoned advisors can benefit from the fresh perspectives and digital know-how that younger advisors bring to the table. In turn, more senior advisors can offer invaluable insights, client relationship expertise and a deep understanding of market trends. By fostering an environment of mutual learning and respect, firms can create a collaborative culture that capitalizes on the strengths of both generations.

Some of the most successful mentor/mentee relationships are years in the making. Pulling the next-gen leader into investor discussions, explaining their role to clients (especially A-listers), discussing pre-and-post meeting tactics and ensuring you’re in constant communication all create conditions for success.

Overcoming Perceptions of Inexperience

One of the challenges faced by next-generation financial advisors is age bias. Investors may express concerns about the advisor’s age, equating youth with inexperience. To overcome this hurdle, next-generation advisors must focus on building trust through knowledge, communication and a strong grasp of the clients’ financial goals. By demonstrating expertise, leveraging technology to streamline processes, and emphasizing a client-first approach, young advisors can gradually dispel age-related doubts and establish credibility with clients and teammates alike.

We asked Ryan Brunnock how he overcomes age bias and he shared these three tips:

  1. Use your age as an advantage. Explain to clients that “We are a multi-generational firm with a goal to serve not only yourselves, but your children and grandchildren as well.”
  2. Give your background and work experience – don’t let them guess.
  3. Come out and say the obvious – “I am 29 years old, and I am not retiring anytime soon. My goal is to be with you for every step of the way. Statistics show that the average Financial Advisor is 55 years old, with 38% expected to retire in the next ten years. As your lives and financial needs evolve, you will benefit from the continuity of having an advisor who has known you for many years.”

Communication is Crucial to Tomorrow

With next-gen advisors often on a path to succeeding a senior principle within a firm, succession is on the horizon for many. But will the assets and investors stay? Interestingly, LinkedIn found that 31% of retail investors are contemplating a change in their advisor within the next 12 months, with 24% attributing their decision to a perceived “lack of communication” from their current advisor.

Trust and credibility are often established through constant communication. We asked Mr. Brunnock what communication and tech strategies he deploys and he shared:

“We have segmented our book and created a client service matrix model. Through this model, we are ensuring that we have multiple contact points with each client at different times of the year. We also send out monthly emails through FMG Suite. Lastly, anytime there is a severe correction in the market, we will utilize newsletters to alleviate concerns and educate clients.”

He commented how Trinity Financial customizes its service to investors, and for particular clients that tend to get spooked by market volatility, they’ll also place direct calls to check in and quell any market fears.

From a Private Advisor Group perspective, using an email automation technology like FMG Suite certainly enhances advisors’ ability to authentically communicate timely messages by offering preapproved content. It also drives efficiency with features for inputting proper disclosures and opt-out flows to enhance compliance.

Embracing Change

Change is inevitable, and the financial industry is no exception. Embracing next-generation advisors ensures the longevity and relevance of financial practices. By harnessing the agility, innovation, and tech-savviness of young advisors, firms can adapt to evolving client needs and preferences, ensuring their services remain competitive in an ever-changing market.

In fact, advisors like Mr. Brunnock are setting hefty goals to grow “at the quickest pace possible and be known as the go-to next-gen wealth advisor in the greater Northeast area.”

While there is an impressive amount of moves he’s making behind the scenes for this to happen, his dedication to fundamentals and clear targets for marketing both the firm and himself are highly impressive. A clever tactic he shared with us is hosting financial education for clients via a “Finance on Tap Series.” They rent out a local establishment, and host 30-minute presentations on topics such as “7 Financial Steps to Take in Your Twenties” and “Navigating Finances as Newlyweds.” Attendance is free, and guests are encouraged to bring a friend to spread literacy and further network with growth-minded professionals.

The rise of next-generation financial advisors heralds a pivotal shift in the industry. By recruiting and mentoring these young professionals, financial practices can foster innovation, adaptability, and a deeper understanding of the emerging financial landscape. Overcoming any uncertainties of inexperience requires a concerted effort from both advisors and clients to recognize the value that diverse perspectives bring to the table. It’s not about age; it’s about the ability to understand, connect, and guide clients toward their financial aspirations.

The future of financial advice lies in the harmonious integration of experienced wisdom and youthful vigor. By embracing the next generation, financial practices can fortify their foundations, expand their horizons, and create lasting value.

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