Younger advisors are going to play a more integral role in the industry going forward, as $18 trillion in assets is set to move from the Baby Boomer generation to Generations X and Y from 2017 to 2052, said Tom Bradley, president of TD Ameritrade Institutional. Bradley gave a keynote presentation on the new challenges in wealth management during NAPFA’s National Conference this week in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Despite this huge transfer of wealth in the pipeline, children of clients are not likely to hire their parents’ advisor, Bradley said, and Generation X and Y investors are going to look to advisors closer to their own age.
These new types of clients respond to different messaging and investment strategies than their parents, Bradley said. Growing up with laptops, smartphones and the Internet, these younger clients require a different approach to communication and expect instant response from anywhere at any time.
To keep up with the new demands, Bradley suggests advisors bring in young people to their organizations from places such as Texas Tech University’s Division of Personal Financial Planning and the University of Minnesota’s Financial Planning Learning Lab.
NAPFA is grooming these younger advisors within its own ranks through Genesis, a networking group launched in January to help those 33 and under foster a career in the fee-only space. The group, created by David Grant, a 28-year-old financial planning analyst at Vantage Financial, is geared towards helping students who are interested in the fee-only space as well as helping younger advisors to be better planners.
Since launching in January, the group now has 75 members who are active on Genesis’ online forums. The group held its first social event at NAPFA’s National Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, this week. With about 35 attendees, the gathering gave younger conference goers the opportunity to network and provided them with an introduction to the group, Grant said.
Grant hopes the group will foster ideas to help younger advisors take advantage of the opportunities Bradley discussed and capture a piece of that $18 trillion pie in the future. In fact, Grant has discussed with his firm to develop a younger division of planners to start working with clients’ children. While they might not be the most profitable clients at the moment, this could at least keep the money with the firm.
He also believes that this younger group can provide valuable reverse mentors to older, more experienced advisors in that they can educate them on how communication and technology is changing. That said, 18-year-olds just starting out in the business need to learn as much as they can from these older advisors, as they have great wisdom.
Grant doesn’t want to stop there. Looking to the future, he wants Genesis to be a recognized subgroup within NAPFA, with its own track as part of NAPFA University. He’s currently working on a campaign to approach CFP programs in schools to distribute information to students about the group. They’re also looking to collaborate with firms looking to hire younger advisors and connect them with these students.
Genesis is also rolling out a series of webinars targeted at younger professionals, with an upcoming one June 8 about niche marketing. A fall webinar will cover tips on getting media coverage, while a spring webinar will provide education on financial therapy.
During his keynote presentation at the conference, David Gergen, senior political analyst at CNN, said the younger generation provided some hope for the country amid this time of financial uncertainty and lingering debt crisis. “I think they can be as good as the World War II generation.”