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  • by Kate Healy
  • Managing Director, Generation Next, TD Ameritrade Institutional

AdvoKate: So Long Summer, Hello Conferences

Every year, it happens pretty quickly for me. I finally adjust to the slower pace of August and, blink!, it’s fall conference season in full force. My next few months will be packed with events where I’ll be meeting new people, running into old friends, and doing my favorite thing: “AdvoKating” for the future of our industry.

But first, I want to share a highlight that happens at the end of every summer. Our interns put their heads together and come up with a “Capstone” project. They present their big idea to Tom Nally, President, TD Ameritrade Institutional, and his leadership team. Each year they impress me and my colleagues with their unique perspectives and the hard work they put into this effort.

L-R Ryan Shen, Christina Eng, Alejandra Cornell-Roberts, Kate Healy, Timothy Haan, Margaret DiGerolamo, Chris Passarell

Making ideas reality

Previous year’s interns recommended, for example, that we create guides for internships, something that RIAs can leverage in order to start or improve their internship programs. We listened—and agreed. The result is our set of comprehensive guides to support you as you launch, conduct, and transition talent from an internship program. These guides are available today, and we have interns to thank for it.

Class of 2017 takes on shortage of RIAs

This year’s interns knocked it out of the park. They were polished and professional—and very well prepared. Here’s the problem they tackled: the growing shortage of advisors in the RIA industry.

The group was tasked with building a strategy to help build awareness of the RIA profession to attract more talent to our industry. The interns showed us the advantages of creating creative content through more targeted multi-media channels.

Our 2017 Corporate Summer Interns presenting to Tom Nally, President, TD Ameritrade Institutional, and his leadership team.

Our team has a lot to digest. I can speak for all us and say we were truly wowed—impressed by both the interns’ effort and their results. Stay tuned to see how we build off this year’s project. And, great job, 2017 interns! Please stay in touch. I can’t wait to see your careers take off after graduation.

The industry needs more interns

These Capstone projects give the interns real-world experience working as part of a team—in east and west locations, no less. And, they brought real value to our firm, a message more RIAs should heed. In fact, TD Ameritrade’s Midyear RIA Sentiment Survey¹ revealed that just one-third of advisor firms hire interns and, of these, only 28 percent have a formal internship program in place. These numbers need to be higher.

I was pleased to see that the survey showed some of my favorite advice does seem to be getting through: that your local college is a great resource. When it comes to finding interns, 75 percent of RIAs rely on either their local colleges or word of mouth referrals for candidates. More than half say they create internships for the children of friends and clients.

There is more work to be done on this front. Help us get these numbers moving in the right direction by talking to the program directors at financial planning degree programs this month. That’s right: Now is the perfect time to offer your help in guest lecturing and mentoring. What a great way to build your intern talent pipeline! Remember, many firms start interviewing for holiday break and summer interns in the fall. Don’t lose out because you were too late for great talent.

Hitting the road

I’ve said my goodbyes to our interns and am gearing up for the conferences ahead. I will attend many of our industry events, and look forward to discussing what “GenNext” means for the future of our profession. I’m also working with my team to plan for next year. So, the door is wide open. Now is the perfect time for you to share your thoughts about ways we can support you and the future of your firm.

If you see me out there, say hello! I’m there for you and I want to hear from you. We are gearing up and have some exciting things on the horizon, but I still need your feedback. What are your pain points? And how can we help you?

While I hope to see you in person, if you aren’t traveling this fall, you can always find me @KateHealy_TDA.

¹ The results of TD Ameritrade Institutional 2017 Mid-Year RIA Sentiment Survey are based on a phone survey conducted from June 13 through June 26, 2017 by MaritzCX on behalf of TD Ameritrade Institutional, a division of TD Ameritrade Inc., of 300 registered investment advisors (“RIAs”) managing an average of $166 million in assets. Survey participants were asked to share their views on economy, the outlook for their firms and the RIA market overall. Participants may be clients of TD Ameritrade Institutional and other custodians. The margin of error in this survey is ±5.6%.

MaritzCX and TD Ameritrade, Inc. are separate, unaffiliated companies and are not responsible for each other’s products and services.

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