For millennials, financial literacy is under taught and its value under appreciated, says Julia Buchholz, a senior at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
Buchholz wants to change that by becoming a financial planner - a welcome move for an industry that is facing adviser shortages and a dearth of young talent.
“The RIA industry has seen steady growth over the past 30 years serving boomers, but now we need to attract young clients and new talent,” says Tom Nally, president of TD Ameritrade Institutional.
QuoteRIAs, says 21-year old Julia Buchholz, are going to be “the next wave in the industry.”
Accordingly, TD Ameritrade handed out twelve “NextGen Financial Planning Scholarships” this year, marking the fourth consecutive year the industry's second-largest custodian has given out such awards to students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in financial planning. Each student received $5,000.
“It’s an exciting time to join the industry and start educating my peers about the importance of financial planning,” says Buchholz, who is currently working at RMB Capital in Chicago as a wealth management intern.
Indeed, the young scholarship winners are well aware that the RIA model has become increasing attractive to traditional brokers and wirehouse veterans, while— not coincidentally — profitability is also hitting all-time highs.
RIAs, Buchholz says, are going to be “the next wave in the industry.”
GRANTS FOR PLANNING PROGRAMS
TD Ameritrade also awarded $75,000 in grants to two universities to help them establish and expand their financial planning programs. This year’s winners are the University of Houston, which received $50,000, and Delaware State University, which received $25,000.
At the University of Houston, the grant will go towards internship stipends, managing internal programs and marketing, says Frank Kelly, associate dean of undergraduate business programs. Delaware State plans to use the money for networking events, capstone projects and internships, according to Nandita Das, associate professor of finance.
PROMOTING THE RIA CAREER TRACK
The scholarships and grants are part of the custody giant’s larger NextGen Initiative aimed at ushering in and mentoring the next cohort of independent advisers. As part of the celebration, TD invited the winners for a tour of New York’s financial district and a visit to Nasdaq on Wednesday.
The RIA model is the way to go for Brian Miller, a junior in the Bachelor of Science in personal financial planning program at Utah Valley University, which won the most scholarships this year with four recipients. The fee-only structure, Miller says, represents the “most perfect way to align the interests of advisers and clients.”
Quote“There are now more CFPs over the age of 70 than there are under the age of 30,” says Kate Healy, TD Ameritrade's managing director of marketing
Scott McGehee, a junior at Kansas State University, agrees. He hopes to run his own independent firm one day and believes it’s the best way to foster trust with clients.
“I don’t want my clients to walk into a big firm and be intimidated by that environment. I want to always meet with them face to face in an intimate space.” McGehee is currently interning with Mariner Wealth Advisors.
MORE CFPs OVER 70 THAN UNDER 30
The industry's adviser shortage is occurring just as demand for fiduciary advice continues to grow and millions of boomer planners who dominate the ranks of the business are set to retire. At the same time, there aren’t enough young advisers entering the industry to take their place.
“There are now more CFPs over the age of 70 than there are under the age of 30,” says Kate Healy, managing director of marketing, at the Nasdaq-hosted event.
In a separate effort to foster young advisers, TD Ameritrade announced that it has partnered with XY Planning Network, an organization representing close to 270 independent, fee-only planners who specialize in serving millennial and Gen X clients.
Under the deal, TD Ameritrade will custody the assets of XYPN’s member firms, which utilize a monthly retainer subscription model much like Netflix, and give them access to its Veo trading platform.
“Of all the custodians TD Ameritrade is the most well respected in terms of technology. They were the obvious answer,” says Alan Moore, co-founder of XYPN. “Our advisers are more tech savvy. We provide a lot of our own technology and software, and needed a custodian that can integrate with all of those systems. TD offered that.”
Moore expects at least 100 of XYPN’s member firms to sign on to the new platform by the end of the year.