What New Advisors Need To Succeed
August 18, 2015
by Beverly Flaxington
Beverly Flaxington is a practice management consultant. She answers questions from advisors facing human resource issues. To submit yours, email us here.
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Our firm keeps increasing the level of experience and credentials new advisors need. We expect enrollment in either a CFA or CFP program even for fairly entry-level positions and then progress in completing the credentials. This is important because our clients are very sophisticated and turn to us for whole-life planning and investing. The problem is that newer advisors – while credentialed – are not experienced. We can’t put them in front of our large clients. But because they have credentials behind them, they think that doing analysis or behind-the-scenes client work is beneath them. How do we explain that doing the time in analysis is important and does require a high level of expertise on its own? Their experience and schooling is not wasted; it is just applied differently than it might be with a senior member of our team.
It’s not enough to tell younger staff what to do anymore and expect them to happily do it. It’s important to explain to them why they are doing it and how it contributes to the overall business. I understand that from your perspective, the academic learning isn’t enough. You want the practical experience too. But, from their perspective, they can’t get that practical experience without exposure to the clients and to the real world. So, it’s a dilemma for both parties.
It’s important to provide two things to these newer advisors: Context about why they are doing what they are doing, which includes making the connection with the duties they have been assigned and the client situation or the overall business outcomes, and a clear path forward for what success looks like and how they can move from one level to the next. Share the picture of what success looks like and specifically what they can and need to do for their own career success.
We co-created research last year that showed the younger advisors aren’t content just doing tasks without a connection to what the task means to the overall. They say they want to make a bigger impact, but they are searching for ways to do so.
Those individuals who have spent a lot of time and probably money to get additional credentials are going to want to know where the ladder is, how to get from one rung to another and how they can reach the top eventually! The more you can share, the more engaged they will be.