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Star Search

Seeking charismatic planners for financial road shows; audition required.

No, it's not Ed McMahon. It's Liz Davidson, chief executive of Financial Finesse, who is conducting this star search. Davidson has put out a casting call for passionate, knowledgeable and “appealing” financial advisors to present workshops for corporate clients. A screen test is mandatory.

Applicants must spend one and a half days with a public speaking coach before they can even try out for the job. Only 10 percent make the cut, says Davidson, who has 30 speakers signed up, but is looking to discover new faces.

The speakers aren't paid, per se. They do, however, get to address a roomful of prospects on a variety of subjects, ranging from basic money matters to estate planning to options. About half of the workshop attendees take advantage of a free one-hour consultation, and many of those become clients, says Davidson.

“It's a pretty fabulous arrangement,” says Tom Swift, president of The Financial Avengers, a San Francisco-based planning firm. “We're really not there to sell, but to inform. Yet when you talk to a group of, say, 45 people on financial planning for one and a half hours, some are going to come to you for advice.”

Not drawn to the spotlight? You can apply to become part of Financial Finesse's national 185-person advisor network. These advisors also go through a rigorous screening and training process. If accepted, they can win referrals from Financial Finesse's helpline.

Davidson says she is particularly interested in finding speakers and advisors in major markets.

San Francisco-based Financial Finesse is a consulting company that sells educational services to corporate clients. It provides an online helpline, live workshops and referrals to employees of some 300 clients, including McCann-Erickson Worldwide, International Data Group and the National Association for Hispanic Elderly. It's not a licensed investment advisor.

Interested advisors should get their head shots and resumés ready and contact Davidson at

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