According to an article published last month in The Alert Investor, the number of financial professionals in the United States has declined by 39,000 individuals over the past eight years. Clay Skurdal, the founding partner of Advisors Ahead, says that many college programs lack coursework in holistic services, which he describes as the approach that focuses on, “… trying to help people solve for a 360-degree view for their entire financial life.”
In addition to a dearth of college programs to attract students, the article, Millennials Wanted: Why Aren’t More Young People Becoming Financial Professionals? cites attrition in the current ranks and the perceived lack of mentorship for young professionals as other reasons adding to the decline.
At a recent conference, Susan Axelrod, the executive vice president of regulatory operations at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, (FINRA) urged firms to adapt to younger workers’ desire for mentorship. Axelrod said:
“By pairing new employees with more experienced advisors, new recruits can get regular feedback and learn without feeling siloed.”
Do Financial Professionals Suffer from an Image Problem?
Alice Gomstyn, author of the article, cites another important cause for the declining numbers of financial professionals, pointing to an image problem within the industry and suggesting that movies like “The Wolf of Wall Street,” may deter young adults from entering financial professions.
No matter what issues are leading to the problem, it is one that the financial industry cannot afford to overlook. As Axelrod explained, millennials are no longer tomorrow’s leaders: “They are, increasingly, the leaders of today.”