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Best Practices for Advisors to Recruit Millennials

  • By Nicole Anglace
  • |
  • July 26, 2016

“The real hiring crisis is not that young advisors are burning out, though; they’re not showing up in the first place. As older advisors retire, there aren’t enough young advisors to take their place.” – Danielle Andrus, Think Advisor

NextGen employees are invaluable to the industry, as the above quote illustrates. But traditional recruiting methods might not be effective for this talent pool. Here are some other ways you can locate NextGen talent and attract them to your firm. 


When reaching out to universities, focus on those with well respected business schools, those recognized as CFA Program Partners, or those that offer additional certificates.

Another source of talent can be found by tapping into the programs that have received funding through TD Ameritrade’s NextGen Grant Program. This program encourages the development of financial planning education by providing two universities grant money each year. This effort is made to ensure that more young advisors will be able to meet the real world demands of RIA firms.

In recent years, recipients of this grant have included the University of North Texas, Temple University, The University of Georgia, and Texas A&M University. However, while these institutions are great places to look, many of these programs have small graduating classes. Therefore, keeping a wide net is a necessity.


Building a relationship with the professors at these universities can provide your firm with access to top talent.  Those students who demonstrate a deep understand of material or those who truly care about their studies are more likely to seek out their professors in office hours. As a result of your relationship with the professor, you may be exposed to some of the department’s top talent.

Moreover, this professor will likely be willing to provide a letter of reference for the student, which gives you a more developed image for that applicant. Likewise, many planners even become adjunct professors at local universities in an effort to both ensure the development of the industry and to build relationships with the talent in the programs. 

In the event that there is not a local university with a developed financial planning program, your firm may be able to help change that. For example, JNBA formed a partnership with the University of Minnesota and eventually helped the university launch its financial planning major.

Firms of any size may be able to assist with program formation. If planned properly, minimal risk for both organizations can be achieved.  By sending an available advisor or two each week to lecture, you can get their program off the ground, building a relationship with the university and gaining access to their top talent. As the university does not need to hire instructors from an alternate source, you help minimize their risk, and the potential benefit to your firm could vastly outweigh the opportunity cost of teaching some courses. 

Career Centers:

Connecting with advisers at college career centers is another way to get access to talent. Informing these individuals of openings at your firm will have a similar effect as informing professors. Moreover, through such a relationship, you may be able to list your job openings in university specific job sites. Hubs like these are often available to alumni as well as current students. Thus, your position will likely be seen not only by the youngest Millennials, but also by those do have some industry experience. In any event, it is likely that you will notice a marked increase in directed exposure for your position. 

Career Fairs:

Due to time restraints, you may find that this method will not be viable. However, if you are able, setting up a station at a local college career fair is worth the time and expenditure. The opportunities it will provide to interact with the students will not only generate interest in your firm, but it will also allow you to glean insight into a student’s character in a less formal environment.

Employee Referrals

Establishing an employee referral program can be beneficial for your practice as a whole. You could save valuable time and money that would have been lost to advertising expenses, yet you are still exposed to potentially viable applicants.

Additionally, you have a representative who can communicate directly with the applicant and express why the company ought to be considered. If you design your program to reward the employee who made the referral, your employees will certainly appreciate the ability to earn some extra cash!


Internships are a great way to tap into the available young talent without a long term commitment. Starting an intern program at your firm will certainly expose you to several individuals whom you may want to bring on as full time employees, but it will also allow you to turn away individuals who lack the necessary skills for your firm.

Certainly, great success can come from human capital investments. As of October 2015, JNBA Financial Advisors in Minneapolis had a team of 24. 13 of these advisers are Millennials, 9 of whom were hired through their well-developed internship program.

Alternative options

If your firm is wary and doesn’t feel that reaching out to colleges is a viable option, consider looking into the residency programs made available by recruiting services such as Advisors Ahead. According to Investment News, firms pay Advisors Ahead when they hire one of its young professionals, most of whom are new graduates, and Advisors Ahead provides their talent with salaries and helps with licensing. 


According to the CEO of Advisors Ahead, most of the candidates are hired full-time by the firms that they worked with. Thus, it would appear that this talent pipeline can be very useful for a firm that is looking to tap into the next generation of advisors.

Another way to tap into the talent is by utilizing industry job boards. Financial Planning Association, The National Association  of Personal Financial Advisors, and TD Ameritrade’s “RIA NextGen Career Exchange” all provide a platform for an exchange, allowing the posting of both openings and resumes to facilitate the advancement of the industry.

No Matter the Size of your Net, a Net Must be Cast

It is clear that there are a number of ways to engage with millennials, and leveraging these connections to find the talent your firm needs is certainly important. If you need additional advice regarding new hires, job descriptions, on-boarding, or anything related to this process, feel free to contact us at

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