Attracting younger financial advisors into the insurance industry at a time when the bulk of advisors is greying is a sound financial practice – but getting them attracted to the business and ensuring they can do the job are two different things.

In fact, Rohini Kapoor, managing director of two Desjardins Financial Security Independent Network (DFSIN) offices in British Columbia, alerts wannabe advisors to do their homework before rushing headlong into the industry.

“We have so many changes happening in the industry right now and there is so much competition, that I would proceed with caution,” says Kapoor.

Kapoor, who purchased a franchise from Desjardins Financial, now owns a branch in Surrey and in Victoria, B.C., plus three sub-branches, housing just over 40 independent advisors.

One of her core roles is to recruit advisors and help them become successful. Many names come to her through referrals from other advisors or carriers’ sales managers as well as advertising on social media sites like Workopolis and Indeed.

Underserviced Canadians

While older advisors embraced the industry and still have a tight hold on their books of business, the bulk of advisors in the demographic cohort following the baby boomers left the industry almost as quickly as they entered it, leaving a gap of underserviced Canadians.

“When I started 25 years ago, advisors used to come and go. [Now] there are only a handful of people that I know who are still in the industry [of that age].”

Younger would-be advisors have the advantage of being more in touch than their parents with expanding technology, social media and new apps that are coming on the market. But they are also not used to filling out mega-page insurance applications and are facing increasing regulation and compliance rules, says Kapoor.

Younger people interested in becoming financial advisors need time to learn to understand the business, mentor with a more experienced advisor and above all, she says, have a great desire to sell.

“Find the right fit and get into the business if you have a market,” she suggests to new advisors. “If you don’t have a market you should not be getting into the business. You do need people to sell. We may be financial planners but we are also salespeople…and you need to enjoy how to sell.

“If you don’t have the ability to pursue clients and coach them how to be financially sound then don’t get into this business – it’s not for you.”

At her financial centre, Kapoor, like insurers and other distributors, ensures advisors not only have adequate knowledge of what they are selling but also have the right personality and self-management abilities to suit the profession.

Be adaptable

Younger advisors also need to be adaptable and come up with new ways and strategies to provide the right products to the right clients, says Kapoor.

“We need to get new people in there and find new concepts…especially with the way the economy is changing. Clients can’t rely on the products that we sold before. The consumer is now much more aware of what’s going on and more demanding of us. We need to be on top of what’s going on.”

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