Three-Quarters of Broker-Dealer and RIA Executives See A Talent Crisis in the Industry, According to New Fidelity® Poll

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— Attracting New Talent is a Bigger Priority than M&A and Succession Planning Combined
— Firms Leveraging Culture and Reputation as Ways to Stand Out to Job Candidates

BOSTON – A new Fidelity® Institutional poll1, taken at the company's annual Executive Forum client event, found that nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of broker-dealer and registered investment advisor (RIA) firm executives believe that there is a talent shortage in the industry, and acquiring or recruiting new talent is one of their firm's top three strategic priorities.

However, most firms are still relying on more traditional methods of recruiting to attract candidates: 61 percent of executives polled cited referrals and word of mouth as one of their top strategies to find new talent for their firm. Research from Fidelity's Recruiting Redefined study2 found that only three out of 10 new hires come from referral networks. Gen Y candidates are leveraging online tools like social networking sites and student/alumni directories, which may be underutilized resources for firms3.

According to the poll, firms are looking to set themselves apart from their competitors to attract new talent – the top tactics executives cited to differentiate their firms include: Culture (66 percent), Brand/Reputation (47 percent), and Firm Growth (35 percent).

"Some of the best recruiting strategies we've seen have nothing to do with the act of recruiting itself, but originate from the core of the firm," said David Canter, executive vice president of practice management and consulting, Fidelity Clearing & Custody. "It's about distinguishing their firm from all the rest through their mission, their values and their strategic priorities. We've seen several firms use those key differentiators to their advantage in their recruiting efforts."

One firm that has leveraged this tactic is Buckingham Asset Management which cites a culture that puts employees first as a big contributor to the growth of the business.

"Every person we hire plays a crucial role in the organization, so attracting and developing top talent is a key strategic initiative for us," said Adam Birenbaum, CEO of Buckingham Asset Management. "We've been successful in recruiting and retaining talent because we put such a big emphasis on our culture. We find good people and give them great opportunities."

The poll also found that even while most firms are using standard methods of recruiting, many of them are starting to recognize the need to cast a wider net when they look for candidates.

"Many respondents told us that they had successfully recruited advisor talent from outside of the financial advice industry," said Canter. "Some of the professions are ones we've heard before, such as accounting and law, but several firm leaders cited human resources, military and even education, as sources for talent. So we're seeing firms thinking outside of the box when it comes to finding the right candidates to serve their clients."

For more information on how advisors can redefine their recruiting efforts, as well as perspectives on the talent shortage, visit

The 17th annual Executive Forum was held May 3 – 6th in Scottsdale, Arizona. The event was attended by more than 300 executives, most of whom are clients of Fidelity's custody and clearing unit, which administers more than $1.5 trillion in combined assets.4

About the Executive Forum Poll

The Fidelity 2015 Executive Forum Poll was conducted May 3-6, 2015. 132 Fidelity clients attending Executive Forum completed questionnaires at the event. The results of this poll may not be representative of all financial advisors meeting the same criteria as those surveyed at the Fidelity 2015 Executive Forum.

About Fidelity Investments

Fidelity's goal is to make financial expertise broadly accessible and effective in helping people live the lives they want. With assets under administration of $5.3 trillion, including managed assets of $2.1 trillion as of May 30, 2015, we focus on meeting the unique needs of a diverse set of customers: helping more than 24 million people invest their own life savings, nearly 20,000 businesses manage employee benefit programs, as well as providing nearly 10,000 advisory firms with technology solutions to invest their own clients' money. Privately held for nearly 70 years, Fidelity employs 41,000 associates who are focused on the long-term success of our customers. For more information about Fidelity Investments, visit

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