RADNOR, Pa.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Millennials take center stage as both the next generation of leaders and clients in the financial advisory industry, according to a Hartford Funds report released today. The report reflects key takeaways from Hartford Funds’ recent Millennial Advisor Roundtable, moderated by Bill McManus, Director of Strategic Markets at Hartford Funds. The event focused on current and emerging trends facing the millennial generation and the industry at large as well as common millennial misperceptions.
The Millennial Misperception
According to the report, the roundtable discussion highlighted the differences between perception and reality when it comes to the millennial generation. Advisors born after 1980 often feel limited by their millennial label and want to be viewed as future professional leaders and influencers in the advisory industry.
“It’s important that financial advisory firms are careful when identifying millennial talent and treat them as individuals, as opposed to viewing them as part of a group that is often stigmatized in the workplace, news media and beyond,” said McManus.
Flexibility, Mentorship Top the Priority List
Up-and-coming millennial advisors place significant value on mentorship and education. Roundtable participants mentioned that, in addition to addressing daily responsibilities, new hires are also trying to understand how to get the exposure they need to advance within the company. As a result, firms addressing that issue are succeeding with millennials.
Financial advisory firms will also benefit from the ways younger millennials think and work, according to the report. Millennials expect contemporary work standards like work-life balance, remote accessibility and flexible work hours. Participants recommended that advisory firms consider adopting some of these practices to attract and retain the next generation of advisors.
Relationships Remain King
While technology can drive efficiency, relationships are still paramount in financial planning. To that end, millennial advisors are using creative tactics to network with younger clients and develop their own book of business, including hosting fitness boot camp sessions and wine tasting events. Regarding the challenges of being perceived as too young by some potential clients, the report reveals that millennial advisors find success in sharing information about themselves and their family, as well as other clients at similar life stages, to better relate to their older clients.
“The relationship aspect of the industry isn’t going to change; if anything, it will become more important,” McManus said. “Once you start dealing with complex financial situations or the market takes a turn, everyone wants the comfort of knowing that they have a trusted person they can call.”
From College Graduate to Partner
Roundtable participants stressed that firms need to proactively take measures from day one to groom younger advisors for leadership roles. According to the report, some advisory firms are appointing an older and a younger advisor to each account, while others are being transparent in explaining how millennials can get on the partnership track and what being a partner entails.
The report also notes that current advisors need to be laser focused on continuity. Current and prospective clients want assurance that after their advisor retires, they will still receive the same level of service.
“It’s paramount that younger advisors are up to speed and visible so that clients know who the younger advisor is and who will continue the relationship should the older advisor retire,” McManus added. “This is the foundation for proper succession planning.”
Hartford Funds convened a group of millennial financial advisors from firms including Sontag Advisory, RINET Company, O'Brien Wealth Partners, Sentinel Benefits & Financial Group, and Claro Advisors in April 2016 for a roundtable discussion. The full report, “The Future of Financial Services: Why and How to Attract, Cultivate and Retain Millennial Advisors,” can be downloaded at https://www.hartfordfunds.com/millennial-advisors.
About Hartford Funds
Founded in 1996, Hartford Funds is a leading provider of mutual funds and 529 college savings plans. Using its human-centric investing approach, Hartford Funds creates strategies and tools designed to address the needs and wants of investors. Leveraging partnerships with MIT AgeLab and leading practice management experts, Hartford Funds delivers insight into the latest demographic trends and investor behavior. Hartford Funds offers a diverse line-up of more than 45 mutual funds, primarily sub-advised by Wellington Management, designed to address the challenges investors face and includes equity, fixed-income, multi-strategy, and alternative investments. The Company has mutual fund assets under management of $73.6 billion as of March 31, 2016 (excluding assets used in certain annuity products). For more information about the fund family, visit www.hartfordfunds.com.
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