WM Market Reports

Mind The Gap: Report Flags Looming Advisor Shortages

Tom Burroughes Group Editor New York City March 8, 2018


Unless the industry works out solutions, there will be a shortage of wealth advisors in the US amid the expected multi-trillion inter-generational transfers over coming years.

With all the understandable concerns about gender gaps these days there’s also another gap: an age divide between the majority of wealth advisors and those aged under 35.

Figures from Cerulli Associates, the analytics and research firm, find that the average age of wealth advisors is 50 while only 11.7 per cent of them are under 35, raising concerns that as millennials age and move into prime positions in business and other walks of life, there could be an advisory skill shortage. With an expected $30 trillion of wealth expected to change hands in the next few years, the stakes are high.

The report also found that 28 per cent of those advisors within 10 years of their expected retirement aren’t sure about their succession plan.

"Financial advisors are aging, and the industry has been scrambling to find a proactive solution to this demographics problem. Advisors who are 55 years or older manage 36.9 per cent of assets and comprise 39.2 per cent of headcount," Marina Shtyrkov, a research analyst at Cerulli, said.

"Filling the pipeline with quality talent poses a challenge for broker/dealers (B/Ds) and independent firms. Advisors and B/Ds should consider how existing compensation models, work/life balance expectations, training support, mentoring, and company culture meet younger generations' needs,” Shtyrkov said.

"As a critical succession cliff approaches and aging advisors begin retiring in greater numbers, younger advisors and candidates will increasingly wield stronger leverage. Firms will need to take their preferences into serious consideration because this next generation will ultimately shape the financial advice business," Shtyrkov continued.

"Building and managing a team poses a challenge for advisors. The skillset needed to perform well as a financial advisor differs from the one needed to be a good leader and manager," Shtyrkov said. "Advisors who excel in their day-to-day work with investments or financial planning can struggle to groom junior advisors and hire quality staff. A lack of clear communication regarding expectations, goals, and a path for growth can derail junior advisor hiring attempts,” she said.

The data comes from the report entitled US Advisor Metrics 2017: The Next Generation of Planning.


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