Demographic changes are impacting the retirement landscape

If you are a young financial advisor who is new to the business, you probably have the drive to succeed. But you are also learning that success takes time, patience and hard work.

“Young advisors want flexibility to do things their way,” says Yvonne Jodhan, marketing consultant with Alternative Asset Research Inc. in Toronto, “especially if they’re millennials, who strive to prove themselves and want to be recognized for their contribution.”

Newcomers to the business must have the right behavior and attitude and be willing learn if they are to fit in and grow in their roles, Jodhan says. In addition, they must recognize that they don’t operate in a vacuum and must be respectful of rules in a regulated environment.

Although new advisors are expected to bring fresh perspective, says Ahad Ali, analyst with Octane Capital Inc. in Toronto, they must remain cooperative and flexible and should use their skills to add value to the practice.

Here are five survival strategies for new advisors:

1. Seek guidance and training
Jodhan says you must be realistic about your strengths and weaknesses. “Do some self-examination and self-reflection on what you like most about being a financial advisor,” she says.

Recognize that you have a lot to learn, she adds, and don’t be afraid to ask your mentor or a more experienced colleague for guidance.

“Invest in yourself by attending industry courses,” Jodhan says, “and seize every opportunity to participate in internal training sessions.”

2. Listen and learn
Keep your eyes and ears open and learn as much as you can from your peers.

“Become like a sheet of blotting paper,” Jodhan says. The more you learn, the stronger you will become.

“Use every client meeting as a learning experience,” Jodhan says. Show your appreciation for feedback and don’t be afraid to ask questions or seek clarification. For example, if a client disagrees with a recommendation, ask why.

3. Embrace different opinions
Acknowledge that you will be exposed to various differing perspectives and remain open to new ideas.

“There are different means to the same end and the views of your colleagues might be different from yours,” Ali says. “That doesn’t mean that you should be afraid to express your opinions or put forward a fresh perspective.”

Your colleagues could very well come around to accepting your opinion. At this stage of your career, your goal should be to earn the respect of your colleagues by demonstrating that you are a valuable member of the team.

4. Be humble, not cocky
Show humility in dealing with your colleagues and your clients. Accept that you will face opposition in some of your interactions, and be sure to resolve any disagreements with courtesy and respect.

“You are bound to run into resistance, especially if you have strong views on certain subjects,” Ali says. Be humble, rather than cocky, in resolving differences of opinions, he says.

But although you are new, Jodhan says, you should maintain your self respect. Do not regard yourself as below your colleagues.

“You might not have as much experience,” she says, “but that doesn’t mean you don’t play an important role.”

This is the second part in a two-part series on young advisors.

Click here for part one: Four reasons to hire young advisors

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