Darin Pastor, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Capstone Financial Group
As a senior manager at some of the largest financial institutions in the country, I have witnessed a serious lack of commitment to education throughout my career. While many companies like to talk about the importance of employee retention, the reality is that it’s just not a priority. There is a lot of talk, but very little action.
I can probably count the number of companies that truly focus on education on one hand. Tuition reimbursement is not only NOT offered in most cases, but many firms make it next to impossible to get any sort of compensation when it comes to education.
A select few offer a small stipend to help offset tuition costs and, in those cases, students are lucky to get $4,000 for tuition. While that figure is certainly better than nothing, that number won’t even cover the cost of text books. Some firms – I won’t mention any names – only offer tuition reimbursement programs for seasoned executives. Financial advisors are denied the opportunity.
There are many reasons that companies don’t make education a priority:
- Cost is probably the biggest factor. Many organizations feel like they are better served by spending money on marketing to drive recruitment, when they really should be focusing more on keeping the staff they have.
- Size is also an issue. Large corporations don’t know how to be nimble and focus on the individual because they are so large and there’s too much red tape. They can learn to change, but they don’t want to. It doesn’t come easily.
Whatever the excuse may be, none of these should stand in the way of promoting higher education. But they do and it’s extremely unfortunate. The cold, hard truth is that most companies just don’t put the right ingredients into keeping their employees. They frequently cut salaries of their staff and advisors, reduce commission payouts, and cut benefits and still expect their employees to stick around. Firms tout their education programs during recruitment, but then offer very little or no support in the form of tuition reimbursement.
We have a different philosophy at Capstone Financial Group. One of my fundamental beliefs is that only the best and the brightest can bring real value to customers and completely separate themselves from the competition. Our reimbursement program will cover 50% of post-graduate tuition costs for all employees who enroll during their employment at the firm. Employees must maintain a B average or higher, successfully graduate, and remain in good standing to receive reimbursement.
Additionally, our Financial Advisor Associates Program provides upcoming college graduates with a weekly stipend while they study at our offices. Upon successful completion of licensing and registration, candidates then enter into a mentorship with an established Capstone advisor to learn the ropes. At this point they also have the opportunity to earn mid-range salaries and full benefits.
Our advisors value education and have traditionally continued their education at such prestigious universities as Harvard, The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Stanford, UCLA, USC, University of California, Irvine, Pepperdine, Cornell, Drexel, Thunderbird School of Global Management, and more.
By requiring our advisors to complete their education, we are providing our clients with a higher level of knowledge and there is a higher level of expectation to work at the firm. Our advisors have earned the right to work with our clients because they have put in the time to earn their MBA, while also juggling their full-time jobs, families, and otherwise busy lives. I believe there’s a lot to be said for that.
You certainly don’t have to work at Capstone, but if you do, we want you to get your education and because you’re willing to go through that process, we’re willing to pay for it. We have high expectations and with high expectations you can do great things!