Recently a well known financial planner, who has experienced some frustration in trying to hire, asked an interesting question. ‘What do new planners really want in a position?’ The question needs to be addressed because during the hiring process often times, one (or even both) parties cannot clearly articulate what they are seeking in an employment arrangement.
What new planners are seeking is a position where they can learn and experience the business (how to’s) of financial planning because they don’t get that in a degree or a certificate program. In a nutshell, they want to observe first-hand how financial planning is done. The educational institutions often don’t fully focus on the practical applications part, although to some extent this is changing. Degree programs typically focus on providing students with a baseline knowledge in the required technical areas as well as exposure to some practice management topics so they have a building block for the firm owners to teach new planners how to be become effective practitioners. Certificate programs differ from a traditional degree program in that the primary focus is to get students, usually career changers, through the five class educational requirement (Soon to be six classes *) as quickly as possible so they can sit for the CFP® examination.
In an effort to provide more clarity around this issue, see the below summary memo developed from my numerous discussions with new planners over the last decade.
To: Experienced Planners/Financial planning firm business owners
From: New Planners/Future of the profession
Re: What I am seeking in a position
- To work alongside an experienced advisor in direct support of financial planning for clients
- To be given the opportunity to showcase my knowledge and any skills I have picked up through my education and internships
- To be mentored to improve my existing knowledge and skill base so I can eventually do what you do so you can focus on other things if you want to
- The chance to correspond with real live clients through email, phone, and face to face to refine my communication and soft skills
- Work with industry software and create financial plans for clients
- Research investments and allocate portfolios for clients
- To be exposed to all aspects of a financial planning business: operations, IT, investments, planning, and client service, etc.
- To work in a warm and friendly environment where employees and their families come first
- An environment where I am compensated fairly, even somewhat unfairly, if you make up for it with increased mentoring
- An environment where I know exactly what I have to do and the firm has to do to move up another level in my career responsibilities
- An environment where I know exactly what I have to do and the firm has to do to move up another level in compensation
- The CFP® designation, professional organization involvement, and a culture where advisors act in the client’s best interest are championed
- Where you challenge me, but treat me fairly and have a genuine interest in my career
- The true freedom and flexibility to come to you with anything that is on my mind
- For my ideas to be taken seriously and at least considered
This list is not meant to be all inclusive and it obviously isn’t, but these tend to be the most common items that come up in my discussions with individuals looking to enter financial planning. Firm owners should strive for this type of atmosphere to attract the best and brightest of the next generation.
- Michael has several speaking events scheduled for November. Find out more here: http://www.kitces.com/outandabout.php
- Caleb will be on a recruiting trip the week of the 14th
*Beginning January 1 2012, students will be required to take an additional Capstone course to be eligible to sit for the CFP® examination