Slideshows

What Next-Gen Advisors Want

By Paula Vasan By Paula Vasan

In an effort to help attract a new generation of financial advisors, TD Ameritrade Institutional has awarded $50,000 in scholarships to 10 financial planning undergraduate students from around the country. The goal: attract new talent to the industry as the current generation of older advisors near retirement.



In multiple Q&As, five scholarship winners – and next generation planners – share their views on the industry's opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.




VIDEO: Who Are the Next Generation of Planners?




See a longer version of this slideshow in article format here

Eric Siss

Eric Siss

Age: 21 / Grade: Senior; School: Virginia Tech / Major: Finance CFP Certification Education Track



What is your ideal career?



My ideal career would be at an RIA with an emphasis on comprehensive financial planning. This path in particular interests me because of the client facing potential.



What is your reaction to winning TD Ameritrade’s scholarship?



I was extremely excited to win the scholarship, not only because of the financial benefit, but also because of the remarkable prestige that the scholarship has generated.



What do you see as the biggest challenge career-wise right now? How will you overcome it?



I believe the biggest challenge for me career-wise will be my age. It is especially difficult in this industry to overcome trust issues that clients may have with a young advisor. That being said, it does not bother me at all. I am prepared to pay my dues as a junior advisor, doing back office support and learning under senior advisors, until the point where I am ready to serve clients of my own.



What do you see as the biggest opportunity career-wise right now?



The biggest opportunity I see career-wise at this point is that there are firm owners out there looking for a succession plan. I would be ecstatic to learn and grow under a mentor in the hopes that one day he or she would have the trust in me to take over their business.



What, in general, are today’s financial planners doing wrong?



Generally, I feel as though today’s financial planners aren’t focusing enough of their efforts on finding younger clients that will sustain their businesses after the clients approaching retirement start spending down their assets. The way I see it, the financial advisory industry in 10 years will have a lot more major players in the RIA space that will become very competitive with the wirehouses.

Kelly McNerney

Kelly McNerney

Age: 21 / Grade: Senior; School: William Paterson University (WPU), New Jersey / Major: Financial Planning



What is your ideal career?



This past summer I was able to have the opportunity to intern at an RIA firm in Vienna, Va. This was my first financial planning work experience and I learned more about the industry than I ever expected to. I was mentored by CFPs and assisted in comprehensive financial planning. This experience has made me attracted to the RIA environment and philosophy. However, I am not certain on my exact career path after graduation and am open to experiencing other options.



What is your reaction to winning TD Ameritrade’s scholarship?



When I was informed that I was a winner of TD Ameritrade’s generous scholarship, I felt honored, proud, and most of all, thankful. I work very hard in all of my classes and it is an amazing feeling to be rewarded in this way. This scholarship will be used toward my 2013-2014 school year at William Paterson University. I am grateful that TD Ameritrade focuses on improving the financial planning Industry by providing assistance, such as this scholarship, to students like me.



What do you see as the biggest challenge career-wise right now? How will you overcome it?



Personally, my biggest challenge career-wise right now is time management and prioritizing what is most important to me. I am a full time student and also work 40 hours a week to help finance my education. Even though it is sometimes challenging to allocate enough time for my academics, I find my busy schedule to be beneficial to my future career.



What do you see as the biggest opportunity career-wise right now?



I believe that my biggest opportunity career-wise right now is being enrolled in a top undergraduate financial planning program. I am grateful that, as a student, I am able to attend conferences and meet professionals that have been in the industry for many years. I believe that after graduation I will have the skill set and experiences necessary to pursue my career choice.



What, in general, are today’s financial planners doing wrong?



This is a tough question to answer since I am attracted to the profession because they seem to be doing so many things right. Advisors I have met are passionate about serving their clients’ needs and are continuously striving to improve their expertise. Large membership organizations, such as FPA and NAPFA, are improving the industry by embracing the fiduciary standard and continuously increasing competence standards. I am thrilled to join an industry that seems to be going in the right direction. If asked to find something wrong, I would say that companies that still don’t embrace the fiduciary standard are making a big mistake, and if I could change one thing, I would make the CFP mark a legal requirement to hold yourself out as a financial planner, rather than just a voluntary symbol of competency and integrity. Not everyone should be able to just start calling themselves a financial advisor. It makes it so that consumers are unsure where to go for good advice.

Kelsey Brooks

Kelsey Brooks

Age: 21/ Grade: Senior; School: University of Georgia (College of Family and Consumer Sciences) / Major: Family Financial Planning, Consumer Economics



What is your ideal career?



My ideal career would be comprehensive financial planning with a focus in wealth management. I want to help a client from start to finish creating a plan that can be easily implemented and improved upon throughout the financial planning process. The stock market has always fascinated me and I enjoy researching stocks. Being able to help a client invest successfully would be very rewarding.



What is your reaction to winning TD Ameritrade’s scholarship?



I was surprised and thrilled to win the TD Ameritrade scholarship for $5,000. I have been very fortunate to receive the HOPE scholarship as an undergrad, but this scholarship will help fully cover tuition, fees and books for my entire senior year. It helps ease the financial pressure of college. It is a very generous amount and I am very appreciative to have been chosen to receive this award.



What do you see as the biggest challenge career-wise right now? How will you overcome it?



One of the biggest challenges I see encountering in my career right now is my age. The majority of planners are in their late forties, early fifties. I see an issue when starting to grow my client base, especially with clients trusting me with their money and planning for retirement. They have worked hard all of their lives and do not fully trust some 20-year-old to manage their money and make recommendations. I lack 20 years of life experience. I think the best way to overcome this challenge is to be prepared. My plan is to earn the necessary designations and provide comfort by showing potential clients that I am educated and care about making informed recommendations. At first, I want to work under an established planner to provide another level of security and trust among my clients.



What do you see as the biggest opportunity career-wise right now?



The baby boomers are retiring and need help with decisions about money in retirement, long term care insurance and other important decisions. This creates a large pool of potential clients seeking financial planners for quality advice and recommendations. In addition to the baby boomers, many financial planners are thinking about their retirement and succession plans. This creates an incredible opportunity for young planners to find mentors to learn the business and reach out to the younger generation of clients. More people are turning to financial planners to seek reliable and sound advice, which can only mean great things for growth in the industry.



What, in general, are today’s financial planners doing wrong?



A lot of financial planning firms deal with the high net-worth clients. I think that financial planners need to focus more on working with young professionals. This will allow planners to develop a lifelong relationship with a young individual or couple that will hopefully be beneficial to both parties. Financial literacy is a topic that needs to be addressed starting at a younger level and I believe that financial planners would be a great group to create a campaign or curriculum to support this issue.

Josh Landau

Josh Landau

Age: 21 / Grade: Senior; School: University of San Diego / Major: Finance & Accountancy



What is your ideal career?



After college, I plan on starting my career in either public accounting or with an RIA shadowing an advisor and eventually succeeding them and taking over their business. The long-term goal is to eventually become a financial planner when I have built up a strong network of potential clients. In the short-term, I want to begin my career in a place where I can attain as much industry knowledge as possible, so that I will be in a good place when the time comes to start my own RIA firm. With one year left in my undergrad, I already have one full-time offer at a Silicon Valley based accounting, consulting, and financial services firm. Another fruitful career idea that has been discussed would be to work for my uncle’s accounting and financial planning firm and take his practice over upon his retirement.



What was your reaction to winning TD Ameritrade’s scholarship?



The amount won was $5,000. When I found out I was one of the recipients of this award, I was extremely appreciative and elated. In today’s economy, the rising costs of secondary education (especially at a private institution like USD) is immense. This scholarship will drastically help me to alleviate some student debt post-graduation and I could not be more grateful to TD Ameritrade.



What do you see as the biggest challenge career-wise right now? How will you overcome it?



Becoming a financial planner straight out of college seems like a very difficult thing to do successfully. With a large number of advisors around the country and many experienced, successful advisors to choose from, it seems very hard to gain clients right out of college. After all, one would be much more inclined to work with someone with 30 years of industry experience as opposed to someone straight out of college. Because of this challenge, I think it may be best for me to start my career apprenticing with a financial planner to gain as much experience as possible, or start in an accounting or financial services firm, build up a strong network of potential clients, and then get into the financial planning field down the road.



What do you see as the biggest opportunity career-wise right now?



There is a need for financial planners and advisors now more than ever. With the amount needed to retire on the rise and continuing to grow, there is a big opportunity to gain clients and help them realize their financial goals. Going forward, there will always continue to be a need for financial planners and there will always be room to grow and attain new clients.



What, in general, are today’s financial planners doing wrong?



I think some financial planners are too focused on how much money they have under management and are very focused on their commissions and fees rather than what is in their clients’ best interests.

Kayla-Lynn Kasica

Kayla-Lynn Kasica

Age: 21 / Grade: Junior; School: William Paterson University/ Major: Accounting and Financial Planning



What is your ideal career?



Upon graduation, I will pursue a career in the financial planning field under the fee-only RIA model. I believe in the fee-only model used by NAPFA; it puts clients first and is the best form of compensation for reducing potential conflicts. My ideal career would be with an independent firm that follows a client-centered comprehensive service model and embraces the fiduciary standard.



What is your reaction to winning TD Ameritrade’s scholarship?



For the first time as a college student, I will not have to balance two jobs and my full course load. Winning $5,000 is helping me to explore other opportunities without a financial burden on my shoulders. Without doubt, I can say this scholarship has changed my life.



What do you see as the biggest challenge career-wise right now? How will you overcome it?



The biggest challenge I see career-wise is rising up as a young female financial advisor. In the industry we are a strong minority, which I hope someday will be closer to being equal to male advisors.



What do you see as the biggest opportunity career-wise right now?



The biggest opportunity career-wise would be the potential of growth I have as a young female entering in the financial planning industry. More firms are seeking female advisors because the gap between male and female wages in the workforce is narrowing and more females are in need of financial advisement. The gap between males and females in the financial planning industry is still steep but there is great potential in growth in this fast moving industry.



What, in general, are today’s financial planners doing wrong?



While there is nothing wrong with specializing, I think advisors who want to be their clients primary financial guide are making a mistake if they are not being comprehensive in their advice. Nearly all advisors know about investments and insurance, but there is a lot of value to be added by having knowledge of related income tax and estate planning issues. Value in those areas is less abstract, so it is easier to demonstrate to clients and prospective clients. That is why I am double majoring in accounting and financial planning.

In a Q&A with Financial Planning five scholarship winners – and next generation planners – share their views on the industry opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.

Comments (4)
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Posted by jtllopsg k | Sunday, April 06 2014 at 12:18AM ET
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Posted by jtllopsg k | Monday, April 07 2014 at 3:23AM ET
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Posted by jtllopsg k | Monday, April 07 2014 at 8:32AM ET
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Posted by jtllopsg k | Tuesday, April 08 2014 at 9:39PM ET
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