|By Neal St. Anthony, Star Tribune (Minneapolis)|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
About 18 months later, the
Hoffman attributes part of Principal's success in
Q: What's happened over the last decade?
A: We've more than doubled; we're about halfway to tripling the number of advisers we have in this market. It was pretty much flat the 10 years before that. We have about 70 full-time advisers and 30 contract brokers, about 105 people that we have [regulatory] supervisory responsibility for. And we have 25 to 30 staff members. The business is growing.
Q: What's your business strategy?
A: Principal offers wealth management and employee-benefit services to businesses and individuals. Our target, and it's a growth market segment in
Q: What role do multigenerational teams play in Principal's success here?
A: I find that blending generations for working together on client teams creates productive synergies that in turn serve our clients well. It's working. Primarily baby boomers and millennials. Generation X, the generation between them, is more independent, less patient and more competitive. The financial services industry is a good place for boomers. We're still hiring them, and I'm pleased with the results.
Q: Why is it important to have mixed-age teams.
A: Some clients demand it. No longer can one adviser be expected to have the depth of understanding required for all the changes in our industry. It's advantageous to blend the wisdom and experience of boomers with tech-savvy millennials who have energy and potential. They learn from one another.
Sometimes the teams are put together more deliberately. And sometime people just come together. It's never been more prevalent than today. We found that the boomers, age 50 and older, and the Gen Y, who are in their early 30s to late 20s, really work well together. A 70-year-old may want an adviser with gray hair. But the client may want a younger person with new insights in technology and a second opinion. That 35-year-old client may want to hear from somebody with a few decades in the business to give some perspective on the plan. There are many plans .... and one may be a retirement product or a new style of financial planning, replacing the old yellow pad.
We're also seeing that boomers are interested in joining us. If the work is meaningful and offers the opportunity to use skills honed throughout their careers. Some have to work because of what the [Great Recession did to their employment and retirement earnings]. And for some, it's not about the money. It's about staying involved and contributing.
Q: What's the business benefit to mixed generation teams?
A: Blended teams contribute to retention, especially holding on to younger advisers. There's a mentoring relationship that develops. And although advisers are entrepreneurial when it comes to building business, they find it advantageous to be able to coach younger members of the team who one day will transition into taking over, making it a seamless transition for the client. The more competent the millennials become, the more responsibility they can take on.