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A New Way to Train Next-Gen Financial Planners
Practice Management > Building Your Business > Recruiting
By Caleb Brown

The financial planning profession has changed substantially since I joined almost 20 years ago. While these changes have been mostly for the better, we are still struggling with the hiring and training of new financial planners.
I see it every day as CEO of New Planner Recruiting, each semester as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Georgia’s financial planning program, and as a certified financial planner with a local RIA.
Many of the smaller independent RIAs don’t have the infrastructure, desire or bandwidth to train their new hires. Instead, they have been forced to hire more experienced planners away from large financial service institutions after those institutions have trained new planners out of CFP programs.
This can work, but it hardly moves the needle if we are going to continue to grow the independent advice channel to keep up with demand. And honestly, the training these new planners have received doesn’t always include the types of knowledge that many independent RIAs need.
I have seen so many bright new planners flock to these large firms because they will hire without prior experience and may provide new planners with their best shot at being trained — only to find out after a few years that they are not being taught true financial planning, at least from an independent standpoint.
Frustrated that these planners quickly become disenchanted with our profession, and seeing a good number settle for less-than-ideal situations or leave the profession altogether, some colleagues and I think there has to be a better way. 
Sue Chesney, Carrie Jones and I have started a new venture called Planning Zoo, where we are hiring students pursuing their CFP education to provide outsourced financial planning data entry and data migration services to independent planning firms. 
We have experienced planners proficient in each of the most popular financial planning software programs. These experienced planners are teaching the hired students how to understand the information they are receiving, enter the data points into the software, identify any information gaps, and provide a list of basic red flags/opportunities for the advisor to consider as they create the plan for their client.  
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Our intention is to simultaneously help new financial planners entering the profession, financial planning firm owners, and the public as a whole through increased access to knowledgeable financial advice. Here is how we think we can create a win-win for everyone involved.
The planners will work virtually on their own schedule (after the initial training) and must commit to at least 10 hours per week. We will provide access to the various software programs in a secure computing environment.
This work will allow new planners to learn the current planning software programs, gain valuable experience, and build their resumes, which will better position them to join an RIA.
Firm owners who want to outsource some or all of their financial planning can utilize our services for data entry or data migration to streamline their business. Currently we are working within eMoney; our intention, however, is to build this out to cover the other major financial planning programs.
Advisory firms will be giving back to the profession by providing opportunities for students to work on real client situations — all while being supervised by an experienced planner who reviews all completed work. 
If we can increase the number of new planners who have deep data input and software skills as well as a foundational planning understanding, our hope is that independent firms will hire more freely, allowing them to serve more clients.
We estimate that each new planner trained will help at least 50 more households seeking financial planning services. This is an exponential benefit and something that will continue moving the profession forward.
We realize there are outsourced data entry businesses already in operation. We feel, however, that this builds a great long-term solution to bridge the gap between inexperienced planners and firms looking to hire. Check out our website (
Caleb Brown is co-founder and CEO of New Planner Recruiting. His podcast is at
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