Wednesday’s first sessions at TD Ameritrade Institutional’s 2019 LINC conference in San Diego revolved around the theme of transition—in both technology and advisors’ practices. A presentation on integrations with Veo One noted that “old” Veo will not be around forever, while a panel on “business ideas for emerging advisors” focused on how building a diverse group of advisors, by hiring graduates and career switchers, can ultimately lead to business growth.
Advisors reluctant to switch from Veo to Veo One may soon have their move decided for them. While no “firm date” has been decided for the phasing out of Veo, Michael Madrid, product manager of technology solutions at TD Ameritrade Institutional, said the firm was aiming for the end of the year as the retirement date for Veo. “We are pushing people at this point; it’s time to switch,” he said.
As a way to sweeten the deal, more features are being implemented or are in the planning stages for Veo One. One of the features to be found only in the newer platform provides FA Insight data that will allow an advisor to compare personal performance with a range of different control groups, like top performers or the performance average. The insights will pair with educational links to help an advisor improve on areas that have been deemed candidates for a lift.
Other road map improvements are a “not in good order” (NIGO) tracker that will help advisors smooth transitions during account openings by providing faster feedback to address inconsistencies. While Veo One’s trading page is currently similar to Veo’s, Madrid noted that these are slated for an overhaul. Alert notifications will also be improved in Veo One.
Seeing Career Changers and Grads as Integral
Advisors at LINC later packed into a mid-morning session on the importance of creating career paths for fresh graduates and career changers, which was led by Kate Healy, managing director of Generation Next at TD Ameritrade Institutional. Two of the four panelists had met in a chance encounter in 2017. At that year’s LINC, Trinity Wealth Management advisor Marjorie Wentz met Temple University student Kelly Bradley, a financial planning major. Bradley asked Wentz about the internship opportunities available at the firm, only to find out there was no internship program at the Berwyn, Pa.-based firm.
Wentz decided to build a program and brought on Bradley as an intern, eventually hiring her full-time after she graduated in May 2018. Bradley’s role at the firm helped the company expand and proved the value of an internship program, said Wentz. Interns and entry-level hires have been picking up support tasks, freeing up senior advisors to pursue bigger clients.
Getting new perspectives from younger colleagues is simply good business, said Alan Moore, co-founder of XY Planning Network and a panelist. “It’s so easy as a business owner to stagnate," he said. “We underestimate how talented these young people are coming out of [academic] programs."
Moore cautioned that experienced colleagues need to practice patience and give younger colleagues real opportunities to advise. "You can’t learn to swim from PowerPoint slides," he said. Education programs prepare new advisors with the science of financial advice; experience and mentoring furnish the artistic side of the business.
Wentz’s outside-the-box thinking was a result of her own experience as a career changer, having previously worked for a Fortune 500 company and having built and sold her own business before moving into wealth management. Recognizing that younger colleagues are rarely “rainmakers” out of school, she set Bradley up to support the senior staff at the firm and allow them to continue bringing in clients with more assets.
Bringing on Bradley has sparked positive change at the firm, including a greater focus on team-oriented advising and more feedback and communication, said Wentz. It was a message that resonated with Ben Rickey, CEO of Leonard Rickey Investment Advisors in Yakima, Wash. He hired a “green” advisor last year, who is still with the firm, and the experience proved so successful he was looking to add another. More-experienced advisors had learned from their younger colleague, while the newest advisor on the team gained valuable knowledge from older coworkers, he said.
At the end of the session, Rickey was approached by Ariel Watson, a senior at Pennsylvania State University's Behrend campus. She’d seen Rickey was looking for an entry-level advisor and was preparing herself for her own transition, from student to professional.