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Ten to Watch

Ten to Watch: Kate Healy, Generation Next, TD Ameritrade

Kate Healy

Age: 52
Position: Managing Director of Generation Next, TD Ameritrade
Location: Jersey City, N.J.
Education: B.A. in Economic, Rutgers University

Of all the custodians, TD Ameritrade has probably been the most vocal and active in addressing the need to bring new financial advisors into the profession. Even so, earlier this year it went a step further, institutionalizing the efforts in the corporation’s organization chart and appointing Kate Healy, former head of institutional marketing, to the role of managing director, Generation Next.

“It really makes sense to devote a person to it full time,” Healy said. “It’s something that we’re really going to concentrate on.”

TD Ameritrade Institutional plans to expand its online NextGen platform, where anyone can go to learn more about becoming an independent financial advisor. It’s a good business strategy on TD Ameritrade’s part (those who visit are more likely to explore TD as a partner) but it’s also a passionate calling for Healy, who said the goal of her new position is “to be sure that Americans continue to get unbiased financial advice.”

Demand for independent financial advice is growing, but the wealth management industry isn’t attracting young professionals at the pace it needs to. New advisors that identify with and attract clients from the millennial generation are especially prized. Approximately 110,000 advisors are set to retire in the next decade, and there aren’t enough new recruits to take their place.

NextGen initiatives at TDAI to help students and young professionals enter the industry include scholarships and grants, a career exchange program, and an internship network. In 2017, TD presented 12 scholarships of $5,000 to students pursuing bachelor’s degrees in financial planning, and awarded $75,000 in grants to two universities with the goal of developing or strengthening their financial planning degree programs.

More than 200 students attended TD’s National LINC conference in February 2017 to meet advisors and learn more about the job opportunities in the industry. Continuing to improve and grow that effort is on Healy’s to-do list.

But Healy said focusing only on new graduates will not be enough to overcome the talent shortage, and there will be a focus on recruiting new advisors from all demographics. “To me, the next generation is anyone that’s not here now,” Healy said. “It includes millennials, men, women, career-changers, or those entering their career after some time off.”

Another issue to address? A lack of financial planning educators who could make more students aware of the opportunities in the industry and the skills needed. To help rectify that, she is working with Columbia University to create a program that will certify advisors to teach financial planning.

“This industry sorely needs more mentors to young professionals,” she said.

Even in her downtime, Healy is doing research. She likes to spend time with her 14 nieces and nephews—all of them millennials. 

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