Here’s Why Wall Street is Losing Prospective Financial Advisors

Wall Street careers are no longer considered hot by many young people. Recent college graduates are increasingly choosing careers other than Wall Street.

Droves of bright young professionals, many with finance degrees, are rejecting — with a mixture of trepidation and rage — a prospective banking career.

“There is a stigma to it,” …“Young people are looking for things that are more meaningful.”

“I think many of the young people today are disillusioned with Wall Street — they are concerned about the improprieties of it, so to speak,” said Mark Snyder, an independent financial planner on Long Island. His son Chad pursued a career in the music industry rather than join him in the finance game.

Wall Street is increasingly perceived by Millennials as a grim arena and one solely for the money hungry. Memos like the now infamous “Ten Commandments for Wall Street Interns,” don’t help much either.

Advice ranges from the sartorial: “Men: On your first day at the desk, it is customary to wear a bowtie and/or suspenders;” To the menial: “It is much appreciated if you would bring breakfast in for your respective “mentor.” And to the controversial: “We expect you to be the last ones to leave every night…no matter what.”

It seems to me that a career in wealth management can easily be positioned to appeal to the Millennials altruistic yearnings as well as their desire to earn a nice living. A financial advisor who is a competent steward of a client’s retirement nest egg or who helps clients with estate planning or college savings issues is clearly a force for good in the world.

Moreover, a trusted financial advisor who oversees a pool of client assets can work until whatever age they choose. They’re not about to be put out to pasture in the next corporate reorg. How many other occupations can make the same boast?

Perhaps there’s some way that retail firms can get that message out there.

About Mark Elzweig

I am an executive search recruiter with an inside track on financial advisors, the asset management industry, and Wall Street. My work has appeared in numerous publications including On Wall Street,AdvisorOne, and Fund Fire. Journalists regularly seek me out, so you catch my bon mots in The Wall Street Journal, Research Magazine, Reuters, and more. You can follow me on Twitter @elzweig or you can reach me directly at 212-685-7070 or elzweig@elzweig.com.
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