In recognition of Women’s History Month, we are featuring stories this week about women financial advisors who are defying the “old boys’ club” perception of financial advice.
Kelly Kennedy entered the business in the midst of what many are calling a succession crisis, working within her father’s advisory practice to build her own book of business.
We all know the statistics and have heard warnings of a looming “succession crisis” in the industry. With nearly half of financial advisors over the age of 55 and many millions of dollars in baby boomer assets under management going through transition in the next 10 to 15 years, young professionals are well positioned to seize the opportunity. Breaking into the financial advisory industry is not easy, but there is incredible potential for success for young advisors willing to put in the work.
I came into the industry in 2010 with the ultimate goal of taking over my father’s business one day. Having run a successful financial advisory firm for many years, my father knew what it would take for me to grow and achieve real, long-term success of my own. We agreed that I would work to build my own book of business first before building relationships with his clients. I owe much of my success in the financial services industry to my father, but not because he let me off easy or handed me his clients.
I learned over my years of experience that working with a mentor can be immeasurably valuable for a young advisor. For those looking to enter the business, I’d like to offer some advice on how to partner with an experienced advisor and work toward being the succession plan.
Find the right fit
In seeking out a seasoned advisor to be your mentor, and potentially build a succession plan with, keep in mind that not every book of business will be right for you. Advisor-client relationships are the foundation of a solid practice, and young advisors must do their due diligence. Succession planning should ideally be a multi-year process. That said, no matter how far along in the process you are, be ready to move on if you discover that you do not mesh with an advisor’s book of business. Trying to force a relationship will be a disadvantage to you, the seasoned advisor, and their clients.
Listen and observe
It is simple but often-overlooked advice. The people who have been successful in this business have been successful for a reason. Soak up all you can from them. Determine what parts of their style and their method might work for you. At the same time, think about where you can distinguish yourself and develop your own approach. Just because I am following in my father’s footsteps doesn’t mean I’m doing everything his way, and that’s a good thing.
Seeking knowledge from resources outside of my father has helped me to round out my financial planning expertise. While my father is a great source of information and advice, it helps me to hear other perspectives. Through Lincoln Financial Network’s Gen2 program, I connect and network with other young advisors and speak with a coach who offers me insight and a perspective different from my father’s.
To succeed in this business, you have to put in the time and the effort. While forming ties with an established advisor can help you to get a foot in the door, you will not get anywhere without hard work. Be the advisor that your mentor trusts with their business. Most advisors who are nearing retirement have put their entire lives into building their practice. They are proud and protective of the business and the client relationships that they have built. Gain their trust and confidence by working hard each day and forming meaningful connections and rapport with clients.
Now more than ever, the industry needs motivated young advisors to step up and be the succession plan. For those who are willing to put in the work, the opportunities are endless.
Kelly L. Kennedy, CRPC® is a Private Wealth Advisor with Family Wealth Management Group, LLC, and a registered representative of Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp. Member SIPC.