Fetching coffee and making copies is so old school. Today’s most talented students seek meaningful internships that offer learning, growth and networking opportunities. With the launch of a new nationwide RIA Intern Network, TD Ameritrade Institutional 1 arms registered investment advisors (RIAs) with tools and resources to build effective internship programs that can attract and develop the next generation of advisors. Over the next decade, the financial planning industry is expected to grow by 32 percent, nearly twice the average growth rate of all other occupations (14 percent). 2 Strong demand for advisory services, coupled with the fact that less than six percent of existing advisors are under the age of 30, points to a worsening talent shortage in the coming years. 3 The TD Ameritrade RIA Intern Network aims to attract future RIAs so the industry is well-positioned to serve the next generation of investors. “If we don’t change the course we’re on, there’s a very real threat there won’t be enough young people entering the field to meet the growing demand for financial advice. With the average age of RIAs close to 55 4, many advisors are concerned about succession planning and want to leave their clients in capable hands once they decide to retire or exit the business,” said Tom Nally, president, TD Ameritrade Institutional. “An internal succession transition can take up to ten years to implement, which is why it’s so important that we engage students now and raise awareness of a great career opportunity.” The RIA Intern Network seeks to facilitate mutually beneficial relationships for advisors looking to fill entry-level roles and students preparing to enter the workforce. The network can give advisors access to a deeper talent pool while also helping open more doors for young people pursuing a career in financial services. And by attracting tech-savvy, eager interns to their firms, advisors can be in a better position to capitalize on the generational transfer of wealth from Boomers to Gen X and Gen Y investors. Research has shown, high-net-worth investors under the age of 40 prefer to work with an advisor closer to their own age. 5 TD Ameritrade Institutional will provide the support and guidance to help RIAs build an effective training and development program within their firms. Advisors participating in the program will receive a comprehensive internship guide that outlines how to build a program that serves their firm’s strategy and creates a valuable experience for students. Students and advisors will connect through an online portal to post resumes and internship opportunities, while a dedicated LinkedIn page will connect participants for social networking. Students can network with peers interning at other RIA firms across the country and participate in professional development and education programs together through a Next Gen webcast series. When participating in an internship with an independent RIA firm, students gain professional experience and get the benefit of being part of a larger professional network.