Financial advisers using craigslist for recruiting

By Liz Skinner

Jul 14, 2013 @ 12:01 am (Updated 11:55 am) EST

Financial advisers are doing more on craigslist than selling their SUVs and buying secondhand furniture.

Many are using the online sales portal to recruit other advisers and fill other positions at their firms.

Recruiter Tamika Winston said the leads she attracts for adviser positions she advertises on craigslist are “mostly about quantity rather than quality.”

But in some cases, it works.

One Alexandria, Va.-based advisory firm that contracted with Ms. Winston has already hired an adviser through the craigslist ad that the recruiter posted a month ago. To date, the firm has received about 50 leads from the online ad.

“We use craigslist as an alternative way to recruit,” Ms. Winston said.

Experienced advisers respond to ads on the site, as do those who are new to the industry, she said. The uninitiated often are attracted to training programs offered by larger firms.

Axa Advisors LLC's post, for example, seeks people with a strong business background and a “personal history of success.”

Banks and insurance companies are also big posters on craigslist. Recent job listings on the site in-cluded one by Sorrento Pacific Financial LLC, which is looking for an adviser to work out of Westamerica Bank's Northern California branches.

Sorrento Pacific, which provides investment and insurance services to banks, has been using craigslist for more than three and a half years, and has seen the number of applications it receives from the source increase over the past year or two, according to Sorrento Pacific's senior recruiting specialist, Lisa Savino.

She herself was hired after responding to its craigslist post.

The company estimates that about 10% of its hires have come in response to jobs posted on craigslist, and Ms. Savino said she expects that figure will increase as the service becomes even more popular.

One benefit is low cost, she said.

For most cities, it costs $25 to post the ad, though in some more populous areas it is $75.

In some smaller markets, it is free, Ms. Savino said.

STAFF VACANCIES

Many advisory firms use the online venue for filling staff vacancies, as well. For instance, adviser Jonathan Bulman of Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp. has an ad for a planner assistant/practice manager in Rockville, Md., to help him write case summaries, assist with prospecting, and help with client proposals and operational activities.

Craigslist is even seen by some as a way to locate a successor.

Hunter William Bailey, an independent adviser in Citrus Heights, Calif., is looking for an experienced fee-based adviser who is fully licensed and has worked directly with clients to one day take over his firm.

Mr. Bailey said he has used craigslist to find back-office employees for the firm and is seeking to meet potential associate advisers.