NextGen RIA scholarship and grant winners invade the Big Apple

NextGen RIA scholarship and grant winners invade the Big Apple

Kate Healy | August 3, 2017

For many, summer in the city is something to try to escape from the heat and humidity. But it’s also my favorite time of year - it symbolizes an infusion of new energy into the RIA world as we celebrate our NextGen RIA Scholarship and Grant winners.

This year’s event was particularly special for me, as it came on the heels of the announcement of my new role: Managing Director, Generation Next. The day before we hosted our winners on Wall Street, I did a media tour and shared our story with news outlets from both within and outside the industry. What a great way to showcase opportunities for RIAs to a broader audience.

I’ve included some links below if you’d like more details, but basically my new role reinforces TD Ameritrade Institutional’s commitment to the future of the RIA channel. I’ve been “AdvoKating” for the NextGen to include more women and diverse audiences for years. Now it’s officially my singular focus. As you might guess, I’m thrilled!

The power of internships

Of the 12 winners of $5,000 scholarships, eight have had internships or jobs at financial planning firms. Their experiences not only helped to expose them to the availability of the scholarship, it helped their application scores as well. It helped them get noticed.

As much as they benefit students, internships benefit firms, too. Millennials are the largest and most diverse generation, so it’s important to make sure your workforce reflects the client base you want to attract. Millennials bring an experienced point of view and can relate to NextGen clients.

Where do you find quality candidates? Look to the colleges and universities that have financial planning degree programs and form relationships with program directors at those schools. Become a guest lecturer or mentor. Build your talent pipeline by bringing those students in as interns. It’s a low-cost way for you to test out the intern, and for the intern to see what your firm is about.

We’ve found that 85% of employers report that hiring an intern was a positive experience.1 Internships can help an RIA firm’s bottom line as well. Interns can bring a new perspective and new skills to a firm, including a familiarity with technology and personal connections to the 25– to 35–old "emerging wealth" category. Also, your firm can leverage the internship program for future hires—both from within the program, and as a source of referrals.

The selection process

We had an almost 50% increase in applications for scholarships this year. Our selection committee includes representatives from throughout the industry, including former scholarship winners and professionals from financial planning industry groups.

This community works together to cull and score applications based on four key criteria: resume, essay, academic performance, and recommendation. One thing that always impresses us is that these millennials are truly dedicated to service and helping others. It’s a built-in part of their life—and it’s what makes them such great candidates for financial planning careers. We were really impressed with some amazing service projects these students have completed.

Once we agreed on our 12 winners, they were notified and told to clear their calendars for a mid-July event in New York City. We even created a celebratory Spotify playlist to set the mood. Feel free to enjoy it yourself next time you feel like celebrating!

The big day

We kicked off our day with a welcome breakfast and a walking tour of Wall Street. For most of the winners, the excitement that comes with a first visit to New York was clear. Our tour guide was so fantastic that even seasoned city-folk learned some new facts. Then we headed up toward Times Square for lunch and a tour of the Nasdaq.

I moderated a panel discussion featuring fellow advocates and friends:

Lawrence Becker, Operations and Compliance Manager, JNBA Financial Advisors
Rianka Dorsainvil, CFP®, Founder & President of Your Greatest Contribution
Eileen O’Connor, MBA, CFP®, CEO and Co-Founder, Hemington Wealth Management

They shared their personal experiences and insights about the coming talent shortage and future of financial planning.

A little encouragement

You never know where you are going to find a future financial planner. To add even more energy and excitement to the occasion, we invited the mascots from the grant winners’ schools to our big day. The pep behind the Prairie View Panther is delivered by a current kinesiology major…that is, until she heard from our panel and I started planting seeds, asking: Why not do both? Focus on physical and financial fitness! I’ll be watching for you, Panther.

Grant winners

If the scholarship winners were excited, the only word left for our two grant winners is ecstatic. The financial planning program directors from California State University, Fullerton and Prairie View A&M University—Dr. Nanigian and Mr. Harvey, respectively—put their hearts and souls into their programs, and it showed in their applications. I loved spending time with them and hearing about their plans for their students. If you are local to either of these universities, I encourage you to leverage the talent that these programs are producing.

The closing bell

The culmination of an amazing day was closing out the Nasdaq by ringing the bell. In his remarks, our CEO, Tim Hockey, said it best to our winners: “Take our money, go back to school, and become the next generation of advisors.”

Start an internship program. Now.

If you don’t already have an internship program at your firm, I hope I got you thinking about starting one. To help you along, we’ve created in-depth guides to support you as you launch, conduct and transition talent from an internship program.

These guides are available today. I look forward to hearing your feedback and success stories about your internship programs.

Looking ahead

I’ll continue to use my AdvoKate blog to keep you updated on issues related to Next Gen, women, diversity, and some new areas I’m going to be focusing on, such as recruiting former military to the profession.

Follow me on Twitter @KateHealy_TDA and enjoy the rest of the summer!

More NextGen coverage

Investment News

1 Internship Survey 2013. Retrieved from