Now Hiring Women and Millennials: Executives

Now Hiring Women and Millennials: Executives

With demographics changing in the United States, large money managers are actively searching for more women and younger financial advisers to better reflect the changing face of society and be more in tune with peoples' plans for their cash.

Wealth management in the U.S. has been historically dominated by men, with women making up less than 12 percent of advisers, according to analytics firm Cerulli Associates.

With women expected to take control of as much as two-thirds of U.S. personal wealth in the next 10 years, executives are looking to get more women into the adviser workforce.

"We are very focused on increasing the number of female financial advisers and the number of women in our executive leadership team," said Greg Fleming, president of Morgan Stanley's wealth and asset management businesses, at the Reuters Wealth Management Summit on Tuesday in New York.

Morgan Stanley, the biggest brokerage in the world by number of advisers it employs, and rival Bank of America (BAC.N) Merrill Lynch, have both put a priority on hiring advisers from the "Millennial" generation, who were born between 1981 and 1999.

The average financial adviser is now 52, according to Cerulli Associates. Similar research by the software company PriceMetrix puts the average wealth management client at 62 years old.

Hiring younger advisers could help firms lower the average ages in both categories.

Merrill Lynch, which has one of Wall Street's most robust training programs for young advisers, added 230 new trainees in the first quarter.

"We have never strayed away from our commitment to our training program," which is key to addressing the needs of clients and Millennials, John Thiel, head of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, said at Reuters Wealth Management Summit.

The bigger picture, Thiel said, is the overall growing amount of wealth in the U.S., which will require the help of experienced advisers.

This is especially true now that the multi-year bull market in equities is losing steam. Investors say the long-running calculus of splitting investments between stocks and bonds likely will not earn enough income to secure comfortable retirement income.

Merrill Lynch added a net total of 76 experienced advisers to its roughly 14,100 financial advisers in the first quarter.

Brokerages are not alone among financial services firms looking for experienced employees in the face of future wealth.

Peter Charrington, global head of Citi Private Bank, distinguished his roughly 450 private bankers from their broker peers as having a different skill set for their work serving ultra high net worth clients who have a minimum of $25 million.

Those individuals are rare, Charrington said. Still, he would like to see Citi add but around35 private bankers this year worldwide.

 

Follow Reuters Summits on Twitter @Reuters_Summits

 

(For other news from Reuters Wealth Management Summit, click here)

 

(Reporting By Elizabeth Dilts and Svea Herbst)

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