Investment News has published another article that touches on some of the changes inside the industry (link here). It highlights a number of the trends surrounding the aging financial advisor workforce, the fact that the industry can’t seem to train and retain the next generation of advisors and some of the efforts to stem this tide. The article goes on to detail the specific training program changes that are occurring at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, UBS and Wells Fargo. All of the changes revolve around a longer training program and a longer salaried period. The article also touches on the fact that most of the new generation of advisor needs to “team” with an older advisor in order to survive. The most interesting part of the article to us is the following:
“There’s an incredible stigma on sales from the younger generation…They don’t want to be a salesperson.”
What we find most interesting about this quote is that it gets it half right with what it says, and absolutely wrong with what it doesn’t. What it SHOULD say is that the younger generation does not want to be a salesperson for the brokerage industry. We are a proud part of the younger generation of the advisor workforce and we can absolutely confirm this fact. Our generation has just over a decade of market experience and has been around for two full business cycles, two market crashes, at least one real national tragedy and several wars. We have also been around for a huge technological advance in the way that information is shared and consumed. We understand the workings of the market in real depth and we are not at all naive to the way the wire house firms make money. Our generations STIGMA has very little to do with sales, but has everything to do with WHAT we are selling. We have no interest in being a distribution channel for an investment bank. We want nothing to do with selling our clients, friends, family and colleagues the products these firms create under the guise of financial advice.
When we truly believe in the value we provide we don’t have to be a “salesperson” at all. The fact that is getting neglected is that we do not believe in the product or process that these institutions want us to sell. On the other hand, there is no stigma around marketing our services as true financial advisors. When taking the opportunity to break away from this model and build a firm of our own, we cherish the opportunity to tell our story. We are “selling” ourselves, our experience, our trust, our insight, our knowledge and our expertise. We won’t try to make clients fit an investment product in order to get it sold. We will try to use our experience and knowledge to help our clients invest according to their individual situation. There is absolutely no stigma on selling that.