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LPL looks to train veterans as advisors in new hiring push

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LPL Financial and the U.S. Army Reserve are teaming up to build a one-year apprenticeship program training soldiers to break into the wealth management industry and become financial advisors.

The largest independent broker-dealer joined the Army Reserve’s Private Public Partnership as a corporate member, aiming to pair up servicemembers with experienced advisors at LPL’s new Independent Advisor Institute. LPL and the Army Reserve unveiled the program on Veterans Day.

Advisor and decorated former Army Reserve Col. Dryden Pence — who runs Newport Beach, California-based Pence Wealth Management alongside his wife Laila — helped lead the way in setting up the partnership. LPL has its own military roots: Navy veterans Bob Ritzman and Al Monahan launched forerunner Private Ledger in 1973.

LPL’s new veterans recruiting effort follows those of other firms. Edward Jones started a specific training program for veterans in 2012. Citi and several other financial services companies formed a consortium called Veterans on Wall Street which has grown to more than 125 firms.

Veterans’ ability to create and carry out strategy in stressful environments, work together in teams and handle budgets equip them for financial careers, according to Christopher Plamp, the CEO of Hire Heroes USA.

“We see success where companies take into consideration the other skills that veterans have,” Plamp says. “What I see with this program is that they’re giving them actual time to learn the job.”

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Corporate hiring partners work with the Army to add and develop talent by connecting soldiers with opportunities that align with the skills they learned in the military. The Army has tapped specialists across the country to help advance soldiers’ careers.

Reservists would come to LPL as so-called associate advisors with subsidized compensation for their first year as they learn sales and advice skills, earn their licenses and master the technology. Managing advisors would act as mentors and trainers with LPL’s support.

“I’m proud to be associated with a firm that wants to create opportunities for soldiers to pursue meaningful civilian careers,” Pence said in a statement. “Soldiers value loyalty, dedication, responsibility and a commitment to independence. Those qualities, paired with training and support, can serve clients well.”

Earlier this month, Veterans on Wall Street held its eighth annual event for veterans and their spouses along with financial executives, nonprofit organizations and government officials. About 300 people and 100 companies participated in the fundraiser and symposium on the transition to the workplace.

The organization has also opened a subcommittee called Women Veterans on Wall Street and set up a database of job opportunities for veterans and spouses in coordination with the Bob Woodruff Foundation, says Citi spokesman Cesar Emilio Garcia.

Many veterans express an interest in working in finance, according to Plamp, who says his organization has helped place more than 1,000 veterans at one firm. The organization has found employment for 8,500 veterans this year and 28,000 since its founding 11 years ago. Similar hiring pushes fail sometimes when the specific jobs offered don’t exist in the military, he says.

“There’s a disconnect between the skills they’re coming out with and the jobs they’re getting hired into,” he says, noting the common practice in job listings of requiring several years of experience. “If the industry doesn’t exist in the military, many veterans don’t feel like they can apply.”

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