Citywire Americas’ head of relationship management for US offshore and Americas, Samantha Muratori, checked in from LATAM ConsultUS’s Kick Off event in Punta del Este, Uruguay to share some insights from John Ward, senior relationship manager for the Global Client Relationships group at Pershing.

If John Ward was looking to make a point by asking all the millennials in the room to raise their hands, it’s fair to say he succeeded.

I was among five out of roughly 120 attendees, most of which were independent financial advisors from all ends of Latin America, to do so.

‘Most of the people in the room here look like I do,’ Ward (pictured below) told the audience, as he warned that the private banking and wealth management industry is ‘underprepared’ for the generational and demographic shift to take place.

‘The majority of financial advisors are male, with an average age of 50. As wealth shifts to the next generation and as a greater share of wealth is controlled by women, we should be actively recruiting a more diverse team of professionals,’ he told me when I caught up with him after his presentation.

He added that the industry as a whole needs to do more to attract the next generation of talent into the profession, especially as they do not always have a favorable view of financial services.

In the US only 4.6% of nearly 80,000 Certified Financial Planners (CFP) are under the age of 30, according to the CFP board.

‘Reaching students at high school level to increase their understanding of personal finance and demonstrate to them the power of financial advice in changing lives is one way of repairing the reputational damage the industry has suffered in the post financial crisis era, and is something we at Pershing are focused on,’ he added.

As for reaching out to millennials, John suggested organizations consider their technology and digital strategy and whether it meets the needs of their current and future clients. 

‘The next generation of investors who grew up in the digital era expect the same seamless experience they get on platforms like Amazon from all their interactions, including from their investment professionals.

‘Reaching this demographic will require firms to review their investment solutions, as well as how their clients experience these solutions, and make the necessary adjustments based on changing client needs.’