It’s not always easy for a young person to become a financial advisor, but firms can find potential recruits in less obvious places, according to Chris Cooke, managing partner at Cooke Financial Group.

While the tendency is to look for recruits with technical or financial backgrounds, people with service backgrounds can also fit the financial advisor job requirements, said Cooke, who noted that his firm has hired not only from banks but also from restaurants.

“A couple of our best hires have been a young lady or young man who served me somewhere,” Cooke said earlier this month at Pershing’s Insite 22 conference in Texas.

In any case, training is going to be crucial, according to Cooke.

“It's hard to be 22 and have someone put their money in your hands,” he said. “So, I think you need to really have a team or some development process to get there.”

Firms can also learn from the next generation of advisors, according to Richard Joyner, president of Tolleson Wealth Management, which has a reverse-mentoring program that pairs a younger and senior person together, and the senior person is the mentee.

“It's an amazing tool to learn how the younger generation sees things — you just learn a lot about the different lens through which they see the world,” Joyner said at the conference. “And it's been so helpful as a more senior leader, to be able to gain that insight and perspective.”

Broker-dealers are casting a wider net to recruit the next generation of advisors, and this includes looking outside the industry and using new engagement techniques that have become the norm since the pandemic.

Meanwhile, an increasing number of firms in the wealth management industry are reaching out to students in a bid to diversify their employee and advisor rosters. The outreach has been in the form of internship opportunities, scholarships and coaching.

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