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The Changing Face of Financial Advisors — Who Are They Now?

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The Changing Face of Financial Advisors — Who Are They Now?

The rise in mobile device use, a 24-hour news cycle and online networks that connect us instantly are transforming modern-day consumers. With new behaviors, needs and purchasing habits, the industries hoping to reach them must evolve, too. The demographics most affected by these changes are the Gen X and Gen Y cohorts, which comprise nearly 150 million Americans between the ages of 20 and 55. Overlooking this part of the population would be a missed opportunity for the financial services industry — and a costly one. These groups are accumulating wealth from work, inheritance, and entrepreneurial endeavors, and they’re searching for guidance on how to save and manage it. To meet this growing demand, financial advisory firms are shifting how they attract potential clients and a new generation of advisors who can serve them.

When marketing to these new audiences, firms must understand what motivates them personally and professionally. For example, because they’ve grown up in the digital age, they want to work with advisors who are as tech-savvy as they are. They’re purpose-driven and support socially conscious companies. And, while they connect and interact online, they also seek out meaningful human relationships. We’ve outlined how firms can remain relevant and competitive — and appeal to this new wave of financial planners. 

Be present online

Just like prospective clients, more job seekers are searching online to learn about companies — and they’ll notice if you’re not keeping up. Your firm should have a consistent and engaging social media presence, a user-friendly website, and digital resources and options like web conferencing and self-service. Investing in technology and modern developments gives clients and employees confidence the firm will adapt along with them.

Job candidates will also seek an inside look into your company’s culture. Feature awards such as “Best Places to Work,” unique benefits, and photo- and video-heavy profiles that paint a picture of what it’s like to work with you.

Be socially conscious

Gen Yers, or millennials, are skeptical of traditional forms of advertising and operational status quo. Social responsibility and community involvement are distinctions they value when choosing a business or employer. Highlight how your company gives back and serves, or initiate socially responsible investment options, so they know they can make a difference by working with you.

Be flexible

To the new generation of advisors, time is a precious commodity. They value memorable experiences, time spent with family and pursuing passions outside of work. Additionally, their life choices may be unconventional and non-linear compared to their older counterparts. More people are returning to school later in life or waiting longer to get married and have kids. Working remotely, flex scheduling, paid family leave, tuition assistance, and other forward-thinking benefits are significant negotiation tools when attracting and retaining top talent. 

Be a champion for diversity

Younger clients are choosing firms where they feel represented, valued and understood. The financial services industry hasn’t historically been analogous with diversity. But with recent developments like InvestmentNews’ Excellence in Diversity & Inclusion Awards, as well as more women and minorities joining the field, diversity initiatives are gaining significant momentum and resources. Firms with advisors spanning cultures, race, gender, age, religious upbringing, and educational backgrounds are differentiating their voice in the industry to serve and support clients from all walks of life.

Be human

It’s a big misconception that young people, and specifically millennials, are mobile device addicts with no real people skills. It’s an even bigger mistake to market to young advisors based on this assumption. Young job candidates value working with like-minded individuals in collaborative environments, as well as participating in mentorship that’s truly a two-way street. They don’t want to be typecast in robo-advisor roles, either. This generation thrives on connections and being able to make a difference in people’s lives. They’re seeking opportunities to use their training and interpersonal skills in real human interactions.

Reaching the new generation of financial planners and clients will mean more than just hiring a young person to manage your Facebook page or spruce up your website. The future success of financial firms will be contingent on building workplaces that potentially look vastly different but will have a lasting effect in every area of business.



U.S. Census Bureau, Age and Sex Composition in the United States: 2018