Developing the Next Generation’s Leaders

August 12, 2014

by Beverly Flaxington

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Beverly Flaxington is a practice management consultant. She answers questions from advisors facing human resource issues.  To submit yours, email us here.

Advisor Perspectives welcomes guest contributions. The views presented here do not necessarily represent those of Advisor Perspectives.
Dear Bev,

We have hired three advisors younger than 35 years old, with the expectation they will help us to grow the business. I understand it can be hard for advisors coming into the business to close sales, but shouldn’t we expect something out of them? How do you teach younger advisors to sell effectively?

Tom D.
Dear Tom,

Have you set clear expectations with them? Do they know what you are expecting them to do and what success looks like to you? Are they clear on the goals and the measurements?

Developing the next generation of leaders is becoming an imperative as the industry continues to age – research shows that over 40% of advisors are over the age of 55, ready to retire soon in some cases. Having a younger staff that can run the business, grow the clientele and manage clients will be crucial if advisors hopes to have their firms live on after they are gone. Having a succession plan in place is important for clients who wonder – “You are helping me with my retirement, but what’s your retirement plan?”

Many times, younger staff members are not mentored and don’t have a clear view of what’s expected of them. The seasoned folks get frustrated, but the newer people don’t even know what they are doing wrong! Remember that advisors just entering the field today face big challenges. Twenty to 30 years ago, there simply wasn’t the sheer number of people vying for the high net worth investor’s dollar. Younger advisors and those newer to the business have to be more creative to find new business and make connections.

Be sure you are doing all you can to show them the ropes. Make introductions, where appropriate, to your own clients. Be sure they know how to tell the story well. Be sure they know how they are being measured, what’s working and what’s not.

In cases where we’ve seen this work best, the older advisor emerges as a strong leader and coach and the younger advisor is hungry for guidance and coaching. Try to make sure your firm has both of these factors in place.


Dear Bev,

Do solicitor agreements work? We just had the auditors in, and they were surprised we didn’t have any solicitor’s agreements on file. I honestly think we should not be paying someone to represent us. Wouldn’t a client be skeptical of this? Is this the trend?

Doug S.
Dear Doug,

Your question contains a point of view as well as a request for my thoughts. If you are not comfortable paying someone to represent you, that’s your answer. I’m often asked to be a third-party affiliate for different programs, and I always decline because I don’t believe I should be compensated for recommending something if I believe in it.

That said, many people feel otherwise and will work harder on your behalf if they are compensated to do so. We have clients who have these agreements on file and are able to maximize the returns on them. There are a number of rules about who can be a solicitor and how it works. I recommend you view this article to get more specifics. It’s not really my area of expertise.

I can say that in many cases, our clients are getting referrals without having to pay anyone for them. I don’t personally believe it is a requirement for establishing relationships that can lead you to new business.


Beverly Flaxington co-founded The Collaborative, a consulting firm devoted to business building for the financial services industry in 1995; in 2008 she co-founded Advisors Trusted Advisor to offer dedicated practice management resources to advisors, planners and wealth managers.  She is currently an adjunct professor at Suffolk University teaching undergraduate students Leadership & Social Responsibility. Beverly is a Certified Professional Behavioral Analyst (CPBA) and Certified Professional Values Analyst (CPVA).

She has spent over 25 years in the investment industry and has been featured in Selling Power Magazine and quoted in hundreds of media outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, MSNBC.com, Investment News and Solutions Magazine for the FPA. She speaks frequently at investment industry conferences and is a speaker for the CFA Institute.

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