Attracting young talent is one of major challenges facing the financial advisory industry. The average age of advisors is in the mid-50s, and many independent advisors lack successors to take over for them when they retire. In addition, as firms continue to go digital and regulatory challenges mount, many advisors struggle to complete their required administrative work.
To foster the development of young talent in the industry, New Jersey-based advisor support company Private Advisor Group created an intern certification program in collaboration with LPL Financial. "The program provides valuable exposure for college students and needed support for advisors," says Abby Salameh, PAG's chief marketing officer. Students interested in interning with a financial advisory firm are offered an online curriculum covering the industry as a whole, the PAG network of independent advisors and the specific operating systems used by network members.
Students participate online courses at their own pace, receiving a certificate when they’ve completed the entire curriculum. At that point, PAG uploads their resumes to an internal resource center where advisors can search for certified interns in their area.
Besides the training curriculum, PAG offers ongoing guidance to advisors interested in hiring an intern. Advisors learn how to interview applicants, make job offers and onboard interns effectively. Advisors can also share their experiences with their colleagues in monthly calls hosted by PAG.
To date, PAG has certified close to 100 students from across the country. "We're already seeing a number of repeat interns," says Salameh. "If an intern has a good experience during winter break, for example, the advisor might rehire them for summer break."
Importantly, all internships are required to be paid. The ultimate goal, Salameh says, is to introduce a new generation to the industry and to create junior advisors who can support and eventually succeed experienced advisors across the country.