Four Bases for Bringing on a Junior Advisor

by | Oct 8, 2018 | Blog

If you are a financial advisor operating as a sole practitioner, it’s inevitable. There comes the point in your practice when you’ll ask yourself, “Should I hire a junior advisor?”.  This question usually arises when one or more of the following occurs:

  • the pipeline has been waning
  • there aren’t enough hours in the day, and you need to delegate
  • you would prefer to spend more time serving fewer clients
  • you want to tap into a new niche market
  • you would like to add some complimentary expertise to the firm
  • you’re looking ahead to retirement and are ready to find a successor

Hiring a junior advisor can satisfy a multitude of needs, it’s just essential to cover the following four bases before you do.

  1. Know What You Want – What’s the goal for hiring a junior advisor? Introspection is important here. Having clarity on the need or needs you are looking to fill; will help you find the right candidate and meet your goals too. For example, if you want to start targeting a new market, you’ll want to hire someone who is knowledgeable of and relatable to the niche you are looking to attract. For example, maybe you want to create a more gender balanced practice or attract more female clients; then it may be best to hire a female advisor.

On the other hand, if you are looking to add complimentary expertise, such as someone who is well versed in financial planning; this type of experience will be paramount in your search. Often, you’ll have multiple goals, and the candidate you look to hire should be well positioned to deliver on them all.

  1. Be Structured – Most new hires want to know up-front your expectations, whom they will report to, their responsibilities and the resources at their disposal to help them succeed.

The greener the candidate, the more hands-on mentoring they will need and time you, or your team, will need to commit to their training. For recent college graduates and those less experienced, start by having them provide behind the scenes office support such as client meeting preparation, marketing tasks, client follow-up when appropriate, and research.

If the new advisor has previous advising and client-facing experience, start assigning them clients after you are assured they are familiar with your value proposition, messaging, services, and processes.

When we talk about structure, we also refer to making sure they have a comfortable workspace to call home on day one. Get organized in advance, know what they’ll need, and have someone available to assist them as they transition.

  1. Clearly Define Compensation– Typically, junior advisors don’t have much regarding assets under management; therefore, you should be prepared to pay them a salary for a few years. Those with a few years of experience can be compensated using a combination of wages, commissions, and transferring some of your clients their way.

Offering educational opportunities by paying for registration and travel to industry conferences is also often much appreciated by advisors eager to learn.

  1. Enlist an Expert– The most significant obstacle to hiring a junior advisor is finding the right one. The easiest way to accomplish this is to align with an industry expert, such as Financial Advocates, that provides hiring and staffing as part of member services. If your goal is succession, they can also help you formalize a succession plan with short and long-term transition goals.

This year Financial Advocates worked with several advisors in our network who were looking for either potential successors or just an injection of young blood into their practice. Our team did all the legwork to find the right candidates including job descriptions, job postings, and first interviews! Let us help you define what you’re looking for and help you to make it happen!