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Five ways to break into the advice industry

Oct 15, 2012 @ 11:46 am

By Mark Bruno

One of the most popular stories we have ever published was the April 29, 2012 story by Mark Schoeff Jr., “A talent shortage looms as the industry booms”. Within 24 hours of posting, the story went viral and is now our second most-read story of 2012.

Why? We've all seen the Cerulli reports citing the shrinkage in the financial advice industry over the last decade – plus the forecasts for a continued decline in the adviser population going forward. (If you haven't, here's the takeaway: There were 323,566 advisers at the end of 2010, 316,109 at the end of 2011, and the headcount is expected to dip below 300,000 in 2016 at this rate).

This is happening at a time when the need for financial advice is growing and demand for the services of financial advisers could grow to be greater than ever over the next decade. Don't forget that the average age of a financial adviser is roughly 56 years-old – meaning many could be heading for the exits over the next ten years.

This equation has prompted InvestmentNews to work directly with a number of advisers, employers and universities to build out our NextGen initiative this year. (You've seen the videos.)

We know there are a number of opportunities to break into the advice business, but finding them can be a challenge. If you know someone who is actively looking to enter the advice industry, here are five steps that can help them learn about the business behind the business and get a foot in the door in a booming industry:

1. Register for the NextGen Virtual Career Fair.

This is a free one-day event that InvestmentNews is hosting on November 9, 2012 that combines content and connections in the industry's first-ever online career fair. Register here.

2. Market yourself.

Even if you are a student, you should have business cards that include your name, major and anticipated year of graduation. You never know when you will meet a potential employer and this display of professionalism could go a long way. Also, and this may be a given, make sure your resume is always up-to-date and accurately reflects the job you want.

3. The advice industry is diverse. Know your stuff.

Not all advisers, brokers, branches, broker-dealers and custodians are the same. You need to know who the industry's key players are and how they specifically support advisers and brokers. During the NextGen Virtual Career Fair, InvestmentNews will host three 'Channel Spotlights' breaking down the RIA, independent broker-dealer and the wirehouse channels. The webcasts will include top executives from Pershing Advisor Solutions, TD Ameritrade Institutional, Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management, NestWise, Cambridge Investment Research and The Advisor Group. (Full agenda here.)

4. Find an internship.

Nothing will allow you to learn about the advice business like an internship. There are a number of firms currently hiring interns (43% of RIAs are planning to use interns in their firms, according to InvestmentNews Research. And yes, most positions are paid). To learn more about getting the most from an internship in the advice business, listen to this May 2012 NextGen webcast.

5. Keep an open mind.

There are a number of roles within an advisory firm that could present your first opportunity to step into the business – and most of them do not involve being a financial adviser at first. Whether it's supporting an adviser directly, or working in a technology or back-office position, many established firms are looking for new talent to help grow their practices. For more, listen to this February 2012 NextGen webcast on finding the right fit in an advisory firm.

Just because:

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