To help combat the lack of awareness among students and young professionals around the advisory industry, Fidelity Investments and the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards are teaming up to launch a new career center tool aimed at bringing together firms and talent.
As many in the industry know, it’s not a lack of interest that is keeping students away from careers in financial advice, it’s a lack of awareness. Fidelity’s study Recruiting Redefined found that only 17 percent of college students and young professionals surveyed were familiar with the advisor profession.
Further, six out of 10 college students couldn’t name a firm that employs advisors. But when the profession was explained, the study shows more than half would consider financial advice as a career. Yet less than a third of advisory firms are effectively engaging college career counseling offices, contributing the lack of awareness among students.
“Students don't really know what a financial advisor does. When they think about this profession, the images that they have in their head are of a lot of older guys running around on a floor on Wall Street,” one student told Fidelity.
To help bridge the knowledge and recruitment gaps, the CFP Board will launch a new online career center, which will provide information on job and internship listings, as well as career information for students and new advisors. Fidelity is making a “significant” donation and will serve as the founding sponsor of the initiative.
“The advisor profession has an awareness problem among Gen Y candidates, and it is because firms and talent are having a hard time finding one another,” said Jylanne Dunne, senior vice president of practice management, Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services.
The online career center is expected to go live during the beginning of 2015, housed within the CFP Board’s current site. In addition to the website, the CFP Board is also developing an app for smartphones and tablets that will have interactive features, as well as host webinars and educational webcasts.
The online Career Center is intended as a free resource for advisers and those interested in the profession, including students and others who want to know more about financial planning and CFP certification, spokesman Dan Drummond said Friday. "Like with other sites that have job posting capabilities, those organizations or individuals who post a job will be charged a fee," he added. The exact amount and pricing for that service is still undetermined at this time.
"This new CFP Board Career Center is a terrific collaboration between CFP Board and Fidelity that will be designed to help find and fill the financial advisor jobs of the future,” CFP Board's Chief Executive Officer, Kevin R. Keller, said in a statement. CFP Board is uniquely qualified to offer this Career Center as the marketplace where professionals can find these new career opportunities as well as information that can help advisors advance their careers.”
In addition to Fidelity's support of the new career center, the firm is also funding 30 scholarships a year for financial planning students seeking to take the CFP exam, which costs about $600. "This is an important next step for those students," Dunne says, adding that Fidelity is seeing many of its RIA clients actively seeking out and hiring CFP-holders.
"The talent shortage is here and it's not going away," Dunne adds, noting that Fidelity's recent research and collaboration with the CFP board will hopefully encourage others to do the same. "This is the time we all need to take a different approach."
Updated September 26, 2014 at 12:15 p.m. This article has been updated to reflect additional information regarding the cost of the new career center resource.