I started my financial planning career as an intern at a wealth management firm in 2009 when the stock market rebounded from hitting the lowest point in over a decade. Listening to client conversations was eye opening. These conversations empowered me to fully understand the magnitude of trust necessary in a client-planner relationship and motivated me to do my part in helping clients who were facing financial challenges.
During my internship, I learned that my technical skills were only part of the equation. Seasoned planners demonstrated the necessary “soft skills” that are required of truly great financial planners. I acknowledged then, and now, that I needed direction; I wanted direction and so does the next generation of financial planners who are new to, or entering, the profession.
As a young planner, here are key ways I see seasoned financial planners and firms helping the next generation of planners, while also helping themselves and their firms.
Recruit Top Talent
The next generation of bright and eager financial planners attends industry conferences. Recruit top talent by building relationships with CFP Board registered programs in attendance.
NexGen planners add a diverse perspective to the team by providing a fresh lens on internal processes and technology. They also have the capacity to tackle research projects. Adding a NexGen planner to the firm will not only support growth, but will allow firms to bring on new clients without compromising the service of existing clients.
Keep Top Talent
Establishing internal career paths and mentoring programs are essential to developing young planners. As planners, we express the importance of our clients having established and defined financial goals. The same is true for NexGen financial planners. We thrive best when we know what is expected of us.
Provide support to NexGen planners.
- Internal mentorship programs are a great opportunity for firm principals to take the young planner under their wing.
- Seek input from the NexGen planner during the development of their career path. It should not be assumed that all planners want to be client facing. Although it is a common career path, some of my peers have expressed greater interest in preparing financial plans, diving into the research and details.
Encourage involvement with other NexGen planners.
- Through my active involvement in the NexGen community, and attending conferences such as FPA NexGen Gathering, I found a diverse group of peers who expressed the same enthusiasm and passion for the profession. We formed a study group of NexGen planners across the country that meets monthly. We touch on topics such as transitioning into lead planner role, research within the profession, and the need for more diversity.
- I found comfort in the NexGen community knowing that I was not the only one concerned about my career path and how to speak to my manager about taking on new challenges or even compensation.
Pass the Torch to Top Talent
With over half of the financial planning profession over the age of 50, it is no surprise that succession planning is popping up in many conversations. However, I am not sure if it is being talked about enough. From a 2013 study conducted by the FPA Research and Practice Institute, The Future of Practice Management, only 25% of financial planners have a written succession plan. Right now is a golden opportunity for seasoned planners to seek out top talent and help mold the next generation of financial planners who will eventually become the next leaders of our profession and potentially their firms.
Start the transition now.
Establishing trust with a client and cementing a lifelong relationship takes years of digging deep and having tough, authentic conversations. This is also true for picking the successor of your firm.
Provide support as the young planner transitions from a support role to a lead role. Having a game plan prior to the client meeting will be helpful. Discuss who will be talking about what areas. Identify the planner’s strength and allow for the planner to answer questions.
Identify clients who will eventually transition to the younger planner and allow them to lead more in meetings. When the transition happens, it will be seamless as trust will be established.
As NexGen planners, we bring fresh perspective to the financial planning profession while concurrently acknowledging the groundwork pioneers have established before us. Although we may be separated by generations, we have the same goal—to continue to move our profession forward and to provide excellent service to our clients in all facets.
Years from today, when you are ready to remove the family pictures from your desk, take the plaques off the wall, and turn off your office light for the last time, will you have a team ready to take the helm? Hiring and grooming the next generation of financial planners now enables a firm to continue its vision for decades to come.
Rianka R. Dorsainvil is a financial advisor with Financial Services Advisory in Rockville, Md. and is the 2015 President-Elect of FPA NexGen. Learn more about FPA NexGen at www.OneFPA.org.