May 18, 2018
- Managing Director, Generation Next, TD Ameritrade Institutional
When Trinity Wealth Management’s Marjorie Wentz packed her bags and flew out to San Diego from the East Coast for National LINC 2017, little did she know that 20 miles away at Philadelphia’s Temple University, Financial Planning Junior, Kelly Bradley, was doing the same thing.
Marjorie’s plan: Do some networking, hear the latest from TD Ameritrade Institutional leadership, investigate new technology, participate in some breakout sessions….pretty standard conference activities.
Kelly’s plan: Lay the groundwork to score the right internship.
A connection made at LINC
Marjorie shared, “I’d been to LINC before and they talked about students but I had never paid much attention. Now, my own children are in college so I was chatting with some of them. I ended up meeting local students from Temple University, including Kelly.”
As they were both heading into a session about women in the industry, Kelly asked Marjorie if they could sit together. She was the perfect combination of proactive and friendly. The two hit it off and connected on LinkedIn right away so they could stay in touch after the conference.
When Kelly asked if she hired interns, Marjorie said, “we never have, but that doesn’t mean we never would.” As a small firm, Marjorie shared she had often considered creating an internship but wasn’t sure how to go about it.
Over the next few weeks they exchanged some messages. Meanwhile, Marjorie ran the idea by her husband, Charlie, who is also the President of the firm. Marjorie shared, “he said yes … as long as I take care of it. So I did. I identified providing 401(k) plans for employers as a potential growth area for our firm, and had not been able to spend time to research it properly. So I made it something for the intern to research. I mapped out a plan for an internship and had Kelly come in and interview.” Marjorie made a key move for a successful internship by creating a plan. This allows you to measure progress from your intern, and gives natural feedback and mentoring opportunities after each milestone.
This was in March. And, although Kelly already had multiple offers and was feeling some pressure to accept something, she held out hoping Marjorie would come through. At the end of the interview Kelly asked, “Are you offering me this job now?” Marjorie said yes. She replied “Is it appropriate to accept right now?”
….Quickly turns into more
Within a few weeks of the internship, the operations manager left the firm. Marjorie laughs, “That’s when my husband stole my intern. He had her doing all kinds of operational tasks. And, anything that we asked, she’d say: “I’m here to learn. I’ll do anything.”
Marjorie shared that toward the end of summer, Kelly was able to schedule her fall semester classes during two days a week. “She worked with us the other three. By November, we knew we had to keep her. Not only was she so effective at operations that we didn’t have to hire a new operations manager, she out-shined our other full-time employee. So, we offered her a full-time position upon her graduation.”
Upon graduation in May of this year, Kelly will already have a full year of experience at an RIA firm under her belt. She says, “Working almost full time, I feel like I know more than my peers. Thanks to this experience, when we learn about something in class I’m one step ahead because it’s more than a theory to me. I’ve already seen it.” Kelly has already done real-world 401(k) analyses, operations, on-boarding, and sat in on financial planning meetings.
Hoping to add to her credentials right away, she plans to take the Series 65 soon and then focus on her CFP. I have no doubt she’ll crush it like she has her other goals.
This story shares so many of the things I talk about — and I encourage you to keep these in mind when it comes to internships and recruiting NextGen talent:
- Interns aren’t just for large firms — Trinity Wealth management is a four-person firm.
- Non-advisor roles are important — not all career paths lead to becoming an advisor.
- Don’t be discouraged by a longer lead time — take the time you need to test whether a candidate is a good fit for your firm; it doesn’t happen overnight.
- The RIA model can be a selling point — Kelly held off on accepting other offers, hoping Marjorie and the RIA model would come through. It’s a distinction that can hold value.
- The end of summer doesn’t have to be the end of the internship — local interns may have the flexibility to work part-time during the semester. This continuity is a potential benefit to the firm, and the student is exposed to real-world experience, which could put them ahead of peers.
- TD Ameritrade Institutional can help — The RIA Intern network is a great resource for NextGen talent in your area. Post your positions on RIANextGen.com and search for the right candidate from the hundreds of student resumes already posted. This summer we will also offer comprehensive guidebooks to help you launch, conduct and transition talent from an internship program.
TD Ameritrade and the above named firm are separate and unaffiliated firms, that are not responsible for each other’s services or policies. TD Ameritrade does not recommend or endorse any advisor that utilizes its brokerage or custodial services.