Across the U.S., financial advisors are getting older. According to Cerulli Associates, 35% of current advisors will retire in the next 10 years, leaving approximately $6 trillion in assets under management to the next generation, which poses an unique question to managers, “how to recruit advisors and attract top talent from a younger pool of applicants?”
The future of your firm depends on your ability to recruit a roster of excellent new advisors. Whether you’re focused on being the first broker-dealer for talented newcomers, or trying to attract advisors with established books of business, recruiting has to be an integral part of any wealth management firm’s growth strategy.
While payouts have always been, and will continue to be, the first thing advisors consider when choosing a broker-dealer, not every firm can afford to stake their future on offering the best rates.
To compete with firms offering similar payouts, recruiting professionals at broker-dealers must use the other tools in their toolbox, including:
- Quality of back-office service
- Company culture
- Business and marketing support
However, there’s one tool that’s becoming increasingly important to the next generation of advisors — and it’s a tool that often goes underutilized in recruiting: the tech stack.
How to Recruit Advisors: Technology gives you an edge over competitors.
As of 2017, the average advisory firm used 5.8 total software systems, according to a survey by InvestmentNews. These systems typically include CRMs, financial planning software, portfolio management software, account aggregation software, document management systems, and portfolio rebalancing tools.
Having almost six systems in place might seem like a lot compared to how wealth management firms operated five or ten years ago, but in the context of business at large, it’s really not that much.
Think about all of the capabilities not covered by those six most common software systems. Paperless client onboarding, esignatures, compliance and risk management, advisor transitions, client-facing portals and chat systems…if your firm offers any of these, you can call yourself above average.
If you’re offering relatively similar payouts and benefits as a competitor, having a few additional software capabilities that make life easier could be exactly what’s needed to swing an advisor to your side.
How to Recruit New Talent: Technology helps attract millennial investors.
The evergreen answer to “how do I recruit advisors?” is to give them the tools they need to succeed. As millennials are poised to become the largest adult segment by 2020, success for advisors increasingly involves having the ability to attract this audience.
Many analysts believe that technology is the key to getting these younger investors on board with wealth management. Old-fashioned processes that baby boomers perceive as normal, such as having to visit with an advisor in order to sign paperwork, can feel like an unnecessary chore to the generation that grew up with the internet.
To convince an advisor to join your firm, show them you offer software tools that they can use to attract a millennial audience, such as paperless onboarding software, esignature solutions, client-facing portals, secure chat, and mobile apps.
Technology simplifies advisor transitions.
When it comes to attracting great advisors away from other broker-dealers, the biggest hurdle is the transition. For advisors with considerable books of business, the process usually takes about three months, involves tedious paperwork, and is annoying to clients.
Unfortunately, SEC and FINRA regulations prevent you from helping with this process, so there’s nothing you can do, right?
Well, no. A third-party technology provider like Docupace can set up a system that enables advisors to transition their accounts paperlessly, reducing the time it takes to join a new firm to as little as 30 days. Because all client information is stored securely on a third-party server, the broker-dealer is shielded from seeing any information that would present a compliance risk.
The benefits of offering a service like this are huge. Take, for example, moments when many advisors are simultaneously looking for new broker-dealers, either due to the impending closure of their firm or an undesirable merger or acquisition. A top consideration for these advisors will be the speed at which they can get the transition process over with and go back to devoting their attention to clients.
If you and a competing broker-dealer offer similar payouts and benefits, but joining your firm takes less than one third as long as joining theirs, the choice is simpler.
The tech stack is an underutilized tool for advisor recruiting. Whether you’re recruiting college grads or established advisors, offering excellent software tools can help you turbo-charge your recruiting efforts. When considering how to recruit advisors, keep the following points in mind:
- The average firm only uses 5.8 software systems. This creates a massive opportunity for firms that offer additional capabilities.
- Attracting millennial clients depends on an advisor’s ability to accommodate their preferences for digital workflows. Give advisors the tools they need to make it happen.
- Advisor transitions are a huge hassle. If you can give advisors a way to simplify that process, you have a great shot at getting better talent on board.
Some analysts perceive the wealth management industry as slow to change. The bureaucracy of large corporations, combined with ever-increasing regulatory pressure, has put a damper on growth and adaptation. Therefore, wealth management hasn’t undergone the same kind of rapid evolution that industries like retail and media have experienced in recent years.
However, technology has been staging a quiet revolution in wealth management. Over the past two decades or so, paperless communication has fundamentally changed the way advisors, broker-dealers, RIAs, and clients interact with one another.
These changes have been significant, but there’s a long way to go. Forward-thinking investment firms will see the opportunity to leverage these trends in order to achieve greater efficiency and increase growth.