Academy Blog

FPA Annual Conference Recap with Arlene Moss - Part 3

FPA Annual Conference ⇼ Nashville, TN

The final FPA session I attended was a panel discussion on “How Employers Can Inspire a Culture the Engages NexGen Planners.” Kate Healy, from TD Ameritrade, was the moderator. Panelists were Roger Ma, Charesse Hagan, and Rachel Moran. I may be preaching to the choir with this post, but I found the conversation valuable.  

Create Your Path

The first suggestion was to have a path! (See last week’s post for help on that!)

As you bring team members on, your words must match your team’s actions. For example, If you say “open door policy” and no doors are actually open in your office, people notice that. Be intentional about your culture and match your messaging to your actions.

Check In Frequently

Create a quarterly check in policy with your team, and be sure these check ins are two-way conversations. Sometimes this is just a check in to say all is well, and that’s ok. Ensure you each have the opportunity to defuse conflicts before they grow. This also takes the pressure off of a new employee if things are going badly. No one wants to be a complainer, but soliciting feedback early on ensures open lines of communication.


Be Aware of Cultural Differences

We also had a fantastic conversation about cultural questions. It was asked of the panelists, “Have you been approached for cultural guidance and if so, do you want to be?” This question related specifically to gender and race. One participant pointed out that awareness of the financial planning industry needs to address cultural boundaries. We cannot just check in once someone is in the industry, but rather address boundaries that keep them from entering the industry.  


Industry Myths

This session also addressed several common industry myths and misconceptions.

Myth #1: All financial industry careers are primarily sales. There are parents who won’t nudge their child into a financial focused college major because they believe that the only focus will be on sales. This issue is compounded in cultures that don’t value sales-focused careers.

Myth #2: Financial careers are for white men only. You can’t be what you can’t see. Again, parents are the gateway for children headed to college. If they don’t see the profession, their children won’t. We must reach adults and younger, pre-college, students across cultural and socio-economic lines. So this means our typical middle-aged white guy cannot just go to career day at his kids’ schools. We need to have all kinds of planners going to all kinds of schools speaking to children and parents.


This led to a great mention of the unintended consequences of unpaid interns. (You know this makes my blood boil -- or if you didn’t now you do!) Just no! Unpaid internships directly impact the diversity issue in that many of the students who can afford an unpaid internship are from overrepresented segments of society. There are students who miss opportunities because they need the income from a paying job, internship or not.

Diversity and Inclusion

As you take on the issue of diversity, pay attention to where you are diverse. Are you diverse on all levels or just in certain areas, say administrative staff? Look at each category and level of your business for opportunities for diversity and inclusiveness. Inclusion creates a nonjudgemental workplace where all can thrive.  

A final note was made to hire for potential, and not just skill. Skills can be taught; potential is the key to a long growth trajectory for you and your team.


Arlene Moss is XYPN’s Executive Business Coach. Arlene gets a kick out of helping financial advisors get over being overwhelmed and take on their frustrations so their businesses soar. Arlene works to ensure XYPN members are able to help their clients prosper while creating a sustainable business model. Through XYPN Academy and one-on-one coaching, members get the support they need to grow their businesses and overcome the challenges that come their way.

When not motivating clients and cooking up new ideas to help XYPN member success, you can find Arlene on her road bike, or trying to master the art of tandem cycling without destroying her marriage. In the winter months, she gets to the ski slopes as much as possible, hunting hidden bits of fresh powder amid the trees of Breckenridge.

If you'd like to learn more about Arlene's member-exclusive executive coaching services click here.