By Cyril Tuohy
With the economy on the mend, the approaching shortage of financial advisors and large segments of the population underinsured or lacking coverage outright, two nationwide insurance carriers have announced major hiring initiatives.
New York Life has announced it will hire more than 3,600 financial representatives in 2014, with a focus on women advisors and advisors dedicated to serving African-American, Chinese, Hispanic, Korean, Vietnamese and South Asian markets.
Last year, 62 percent of the company’s new hires in the field were women or “individuals who represent the cultural markets,” the company said in a statement.
Rich Simonetti, senior vice president of field recruiting and development at New York Life, said the goal is to serve the needs of middle income, upper income and high-net-worth markets.
“New agents are pleased to find they are supported by full-time managers and trainers in every office and by product specialists across the country,” he said.
With the retirement of financial advisors in the baby boomer generation, industry experts say big companies are in a war for talent as they look to replenish the distribution ranks of talented retail advisors who can sell the right coverage to millions of underinsured Americans of all ethnic groups.
“There’s a talent war,” Howard Diamond, managing director of Diamond Consultants in Chester, N.J., said. The battle is particularly noticeable among broker/dealers that are poaching teams of experienced advisors from one another.
The average age of all financial advisors working in the industry is 50.9 years, and 43 percent of advisors are older than 55 years old. Nearly 33 percent fall between 55 and 64 years of age, according to a recent report by Cerulli Associates.
Earlier this month, Northwestern Mutual said it would embark on its “most ambitious recruiting effort in the company’s 156-year history” by attracting 2,700 financial representatives and 3,700 “financial representative interns” in 2014.
Steve Mannebach, vice president of field growth and development for Northwestern Mutual, said in a statement that the demand for “trained financial professionals” will grow, according to his company’s forecasts.
“With the market uncertainty and confusing options, people are seeking guidance and clarity in their long-term planning," he said.
Big insurance carriers engage in hiring initiatives nearly every year to renew their advisor base, but the more advisors who retire, the more companies need to increase their recruiting efforts to stay even.
Cyril Tuohy is a writer based in Pennsylvania. He has covered the financial services industry for more than 15 years. Cyril may be reached at email@example.com.
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