Recruitment 101: How to Attract Right-Fit Advisors to Your Firm in 12 Simple Steps
A not-so-fun fact? Investor satisfaction with their advisors is falling.
Twenty-nine percent of investors – just short of one in three – say their advisors don’t understand their financial goals or needs.
On the flip side of that coin, advisors are also feeling frustrated with their firms. As loyalty declines, 7% of independent advisors are “at risk” of leaving their current jobs.
From replacing low-performing advisors to finding new NextGen talent, many firms are looking for ways to recruit right-fit advisors who can deliver quality advice and stay with the team long-term. And whether you’re working with an outsourced financial advisor recruiting firm or doing all your recruiting in-house, there are several steps you can take to attract applicants.
In today’s blog, we’re exploring 12 best practices for recruiting financial advisors you can use to optimize the hiring process.
Financial Advisor Recruiting: 12 Ways to Attract Right-Fit Advisors
1. Get the salary right
While much is said of other factors when it comes to recruiting and retaining staff, salary is still at the top of the list. For example, did you know that 28% of firms point to lower compensation as a top contributor to high turnover rates?
Just as low pay can drive employees away, low or unclear salary ranges can prevent you attracting fresh talent. Around 70% of applicants “prefer to see a salary range in the first message they receive.”
And beyond salary transparency, there’s also the number itself: What’s the golden amount advisors are looking for?
Indeed reports the average advisor base salary (across all years of experience) to be about $80,832. Of course, that varies widely by city, with advisors in sunny San Francisco sitting at $94,070 and those in small-town Lincoln, Nebraska banking about $71,903.
If you’re looking for a place to start, begin by looking up the average compensation in your area and providing a range on either end of that. This way, you can pinpoint a number after learning an advisor’s specific experience and/or expectations.
2. Give them a clear career path
A recent J.D. Powers report noted that professional development opportunities were a key factor for advisor retention – indicating that both new and experienced members of your team are looking for ways to grow.
And if they don’t see that path forward at your firm, they’re at higher risk for jumping ship or taking a job elsewhere. Advisors – like most other professionals – want to know they’re progressing.
A clear career path also shows candidates that your firm takes a proactive rather than reactive approach toward their team. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to map out a career path for your new hires even before you start interviewing.
3. Outline the job clearly
Advisors want to know what their daily lives will look like, what resources they’ll have available and how you’ll measure their success. Will there be administrative staff to help with back-end tasks, or will the new hire handle all of the documentation processes? Does your firm have a team to help handle marketing and prospect outreach, or will that fall squarely on the advisor’s to-do list?
If you haven’t already, it’s a good idea to create a clear outline of responsibilities. For full transparency’s sake, be sure to state the number of client relationships they will be expected to maintain.
And don’t sugar-coat that number, either. ThinkAdvisor writes that “to better retain talent, firms should be upfront about the number of clients their advisors or teams can effectively service.”
If your new hire is expecting 40 clients and they actually have 100, the workload may quickly overwhelm them or even drive them to leave your firm entirely.
4. Make sure your benefits are keeping up with the times
Employee benefits are a necessary way to attract (and retain) advisors for your firm. But what separates a “great” benefits package from a mediocre one – especially in a post-Covid landscape?
In fact, the J.D. Power 2022 U.S. Financial Advisor Satisfaction Study found that 62% of financial advisors want to go back to the office most or even full time. That same study found that in-office advisors have a significantly higher satisfaction score than their remote counterparts.
Keep in mind that your office policy doesn’t have to be “all or nothing” – many organizations find a healthy balance with a hybrid approach.
Beyond your physical office space, it’s also a good idea to offer parental leave policies for both the men and women at your firm. There’s no federal law in place that mandates paid maternity or maternity leave, and only 40% of employers offer paid leave of any kind – so it’s a great way to differentiate yourself from competing firms.
Other special benefits like a continuing education stipend could tip an applicant in your favor, especially those that need to attend courses as part of their licensing requirements. Financial advisor transition packages that include a starting bonus or other initial perks may also be helpful in attracting established advisors to your firm.
5. Put the latest tech in their hands
One of the top reasons advisors are dissatisfied with their firms? Outdated tech.
And if you think your tech stack is the exception, it might be worth another look. A recent survey from Advisor360 found that 58% of advisers and executives at broker-dealers thought their tech was “modern” – yet 65% of respondents admitted that their outdated software had lost them business.
Investing in growth-focused software should be viewed as an investment. While there may be upfront costs associated with implementation, a strong tech stack can improve both advisor and client experiences, drive business and attract advisor talent to your firm.
6. Make prospecting easy
Finding new clients is tough for even the most seasoned advisors – and Investopedia reports that “for new advisors with a small personal network, building a book of business is the most challenging aspect of the career.”
Many advisors are given specific prospecting quotas they need to reach each month, putting even more pressure on a high-stress aspect of their jobs.
In addition to transparency about your lead gen expectations, you can also incorporate technology into your processes that help ease the workload and put prospecting on autopilot.
For example, Nitrogen offers a lead generation form you can embed directly into your website. Prospects are engaged with a proprietary Risk Number® questionnaire, and advisors have immediate, easy access to contact information, goals and net worth.
7. Create a culture that people want to be a part of
While salary and benefits are a great way to get advisors to apply, your firm’s company culture will likely seal the deal for hiring and retaining new professionals.
In fact, in a recent AdvisorHub/Edward Jones survey, 90% of advisors said that “their firm’s culture is ‘’important to me.’ And more than half of the respondents said they ‘recruit other advisors to my firm because of the culture.’”
But what makes a great company culture?
Forbes reports that while each firm is different, there are a few key pieces to the puzzle:
- Getting to know staff – and even potential hires – on a personal level.
- Investing in your employees through educational and growth opportunities.
- Consistent transparency, where “everything is shared, from cash balance and company plans to actually telling people the truth about their equity.”
8. Turn your existing advisors into evangelists
The average age of financial advisors in the United States is 57 – following a recent upward trend. If your firm’s staff is likely to age out of the workforce in the next decade or so, it’s important that you make an effort to bring on new employees to replenish those key players.
Of course, that doesn’t mean waiting until the next office retirement party to start looking! In fact, it may be beneficial to bring your existing advisors into the equation. These experienced advisors have likely stuck with your firm for a reason – whether it’s the stellar benefits or great company culture.
Wealth management recruiters should talk to their team about potentially mentoring younger hires, or even talking to late-stage interviewees about their experiences. If they’re up for it, those advisors with high job satisfaction and firm loyalty could act as financial recruiting machines!
9. Show you trust your people
In general, employees don’t like to be micromanaged – and advisors coming from wirehouses where they have to “punch the clock” may be especially wary of firms that don’t delegate well.
And while it’s tough to show trust in that initial interview stage, certain employee “perks” can help you communicate that message. A 2020 Kitces article stated that “there are two that advisors can’t afford to ignore: medical insurance and retirement plans” – regardless of how much of those costs your firm actually covers.
Other important perks listed include flex time, open vacation, bereavement time, family leave and time to volunteer, among others.
A 2021 global study spanning various industries found that 86% of workers don’t feel heard in their workplace. Those categorized as “highly-engaged” employees were three times more likely to say they did feel heard.
Even more telling, “74% of employees report they are more effective at their job when they feel heard.”
The good news is that you don’t have to wait until their first day to start listening – you can begin with the interview process.
As you begin your recruitment journey, it’s important to keep in mind that these professionals are also individuals with unique ideas, histories, goals and values. Asking candidates questions about themselves early on in the process shows that you care for your employees and recognize their value as people and not just as workers.
Being a good listener also gives you a chance to better learn whether a candidate will fit in well with your firm’s culture. Beyond their hobbies and home life, use these conversations to uncover their “why” behind being an advisor.
If you feel like the candidate is a good match, be sure to highlight how your firm aligns with their values and fits that “why.”
11. Set them up for success
Just because someone has a CFP® doesn’t mean they’re ready to jump into the deep end on day one. There’s nothing worse than starting a new job and getting no training – and even a seasoned advisor will likely need some sort of instruction on your tech and processes.
A training program gives new hires a clear on-ramp for success and shows that you take care of your people. On the other hand, incomplete training can frustrate your latest recruits.
Advisor recruitment specialist Caleb Brown noted that many firms are borrowing tactics from the medical field and implementing “residencies” or in-house “universities” to build a more structured and scalable training program (although with carrying levels of success).
Whether you choose to take that more formalized approach or not, having a clear onboarding and training process is a valuable way to attract new hires and set them up for success early.
12. Make yourself known
Marketing and outreach efforts do more than just attract prospective clients, they also get your firm’s name out there and establish credibility for potential hires.
Take a look at your website: Does it effectively convey your firm’s professionalism, values and philosophies? Does it share information about your team that an applicant might find useful?
Beyond your digital presence, becoming an active member in professional organizations, both locally and nationally, can put you in front of more recruits. Consider joining the Financial Planning Association (FPA) or the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) and attending their in-person events. In addition to growing your network and increasing brand awareness, you may also run into newly certified advisors looking for a firm to join!
From company culture to salary transparency, there are several ways you can communicate your team’s value and boost your applicant numbers. As you begin looking for new team members to join your firm, these twelve tips can help you attract, impress and retain right-fit advisors for long-term success.
Building your dream team and need to evaluate the role technology plays in your retention strategy? Our growth-focused wealth management platform gives your advisors (old and new) access to lead generation opportunities, data insights, client engagement tools and more.
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