The looming stats are everywhere when it comes to the future of the advisory business, despite being a fast-growing industry.
Roughly 90% of assets transferred to the next generation don't stay with the existing advisor, said Matthew Matrisian of Genworth Financial Wealth Management.
Over the next decade, 12,000 to 16,000 of the nation's 315,000 advisors and brokers will retire each year. This means the financial industry will need up to 160,000 new advisors in the next decade to maintain the current headcount, according to Accenture.
The average U.S. advisor is about 50 years old, and advisors over 60 years of age control $2.3 trillion in assets, Accenture also found.
Some advisors, like financial planner Richard Brown, are trying to change some of those dismal stats.
Brown, CEO of JNBA Financial Advisors, is senior fellow of the University of Minnesota Duluth's Labovitz School of Business and Economics. Hes also an instructor of the financial planning program at the university -- his alma mater -- which he started in 2009 with the support of JNBA and TD Ameritrade Institutional. "When I came up with the idea of starting a financial planning minor, I spoke with faculty from Texas Tech and Virginia Tech -- which both have longstanding, strong programs and visited the newer financial planning program of William Paterson University of New Jersey," he said. "I thought that what would stand out would be a real life learning lab off-campus. So we leased office space in the business district of Duluth to help students understand what real life office work is like in financial planning."
The program incorporates typical cases that advisors deal with on a daily basis, with names and accounts taken away for privacy, encouraging students to understand various scenarios. Scenarios include two parents trying to calculate whether they can send their kids to private school, estate planning, financial planning for retirement, strategizing the possible sale of an advisory practice, or grandparents calculating whether they can take a cruise.
How does Brown judge the success of the program? "It's still getting off the ground," Brown said. "But over the first two years of the program, students mostly just wanted credits from other majors. A third of those have gotten into the industry after graduating -- pursuing client service, operations, or investments -- a broad range." The program involves 18-20 juniors and seniors from the universitys business school each semester.
According to Brown, it's the next generation that will shape what the financial planning industry is going to look 5-10 years from now. A lot of these advisory companies are one or two people who are the face of the business. They especially need to understand how important succession planning is and adapt to technology, and students are going to help with that.
Advisors have reason to be concerned about how to ensure the future of their profession. While the financial planning industry (and specifically the RIA world) is healthy by many accounts, the next generation of the industry appears bleak -- many advisors should have started thinking about continuing their services for their clients' next generations and succession planning 15 years ago, according to Bob Glovsky of the Colony Group in Boston.
Financial planning institutions such as Brown's program at the University of Minnesota Duluth aim to serve as one solution to the succession planning problem, Brown acknowledges. "Historically, there hasn't been specific training in financial planning," Brown said. "Now, we've taken financial planning and we're trying to promote specialization within the field."
In 5-10 years, financial planners will be more required to specialize, according to Brown. While some planners might be better at interacting face-to-face with clients, others might be better at compliance and operations.
"That's what will raise the bar," he said.
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