September 24, 2018 10:17 AM

Five of the brightest young minds in financial services were awarded the 2018 Millennial Financial Services Professional Award by The American College of Financial Services. This cohort of young men and women were each nominated for the award by a colleague in financial services as recognition for making a significant impact in the profession.

Recognizing young advisors for the work they do is an important part of building awareness around financial services. 

One of this year’s winners, Jason Bloom, LUTCF, CLU®, a sales leader at State Farm Insurance, said it is important for millennials to pursue a career in financial services. “Millennial advisors were raised in a world of advancing technology and changing customer behavior. We are well positioned to carry the torch for this ever changing industry moving forward.” He goes on to say, “No other career has the potential to help turn financial devastations into mere aggravations.”

Leading the next generation to financial security was a common thread running through the responses of this year’s winners when surveyed about winning the award. Having a lifetime of financial decisions ahead of them, younger generations need guidance when it comes to learning how to handle money and investing for their future.

“Most people didn’t have a course on personal finance in high school and it isn’t required in college curriculums. In an economic driven society, we will only be as strong as the young investors we mold,” said recipient Andrea Koryn Williams, CLU®, CFP®, a financial advisor at Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company.

Confronting the challenges ahead

From dealing with student loan debt to changes in their personal and professional lives, the recipients all offered different examples of the challenges their clients are currently facing.

Matthew McKinley Hembree, CFP®, a financial advisor at First Command Financial Planning, said the biggest challenge his clients face is information overload. “With a 24-hour news cycle, social media feeds, and clickbait articles all relating to important financial issues, you have to help them sort through the noise,” he says. It is important for clients to stick to their financial plans and not make impulsive decisions based on what they see on social media.

There is much uncertainty of what is to come, from tax law changes to public service loan forgiveness. “It’s very easy to feel overwhelmed, but by breaking things down into small accomplishable steps I am able to put my clients at ease and help them focus on those tools that will specifically benefit them,” said Andrea Koryn Williams.

David Kelly, CFP®, WMS, First Vice President, Investments at Raymond James & Associates, considers his biggest challenge “taking advantage of opportunities in today’s investing markets and clients’ own investing situations, while also protecting their assets for the unknowns ahead.”

Millennial financial services professionals: A unique position

Another takeaway from the winners is that millennials are uniquely positioned to be able to connect with clients of all ages.

Barbara Ginty, CFP®, owner of Independent Financial Services, says, “I recognize the unique challenges my generation is facing and know first-hand how I can help them overcome and succeed in their personal finance life.” These young advisors are able to connect with fellow millennials in ways that older advisors cannot.

When it comes to clients outside of their generation, Jason Bloom says, “We can leverage the fact we’re continuing our education and prioritizing an ethical focus on meeting all customers’ needs while adopting the newest technology and information available.”

Being available for clients from the beginning is a huge advantage for these young advisors. “Whether it’s their first job, their first home, or their first child, I have a unique opportunity to stay with them as they progress in life and their finances and goals change,” says Andrea Koryn Williams. David Kelly adds, “Having a long time horizon in the business provides us the opportunities to grow and shape our practices to model where the business is going.”

Flexibility and the ability to adapt to new technology and changing social attitudes also provide millennial advisors a unique advantage.

2018 Millennial Financial Services Professional Award winners

In alphabetical order:

Jason Bloom, LUTCF, CLU®
Sales Leader
State Farm Insurance

Barbara Ginty, CFP®
Independent Financial Services

Matthew McKinley Hembree, CFP®
Financial Advisor
First Command Financial Planning

David Kelly, CFP®, WMS
First Vice President, Investments
Raymond James & Associates

Andrea Koryn Williams, CLU®, CFP®
Financial Advisor
Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company

Nominations for the fourth annual Millennial Financial Services Professional Award will open in spring 2019. If you know an individual under the age of 35 who has made a significant impact in the financial services profession, be sure to nominate them.

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