The Top 40 issue has become a sort of industry shopping mall for recruiters and firms looking to add some coveted young blood to their wealth management divisions. But when you look behind the numbers in this year's rankings, you'll see that youth is only a small part of the story.

This year's winners are not reinventing the wheel or bringing dramatically new "next gen" thinking to this industry. They are, in fact, succeeding the old-fashioned way, by using the same tactics to grow their businesses that their older peers have for generations.

They're working hard and logging 14-hour days. They're putting clients first. They're prospecting for new business, constantly re-evaluating their client mix and always asking themselves how they can do a better job. One young advisor has gone so far as to create an advisory committee to help him continually improve his practice—a strategy that I think most advisors could deploy to great benefit, In other words, they're pushing themselves with supreme intensity and energy, a level of effort that older advisors may not match as frequently as their retirement approaches.

It's a comment we hear a lot from wealth management leaders: As advisors age, they tend to back off the throttle. Acquisition of new clients takes a back seat to maintaining the lucrative relationships they've already established and looking for someone to take over the practice.

For an individual advisor nearing 60, this approach makes perfect sense. At a certain age and level of professional accomplishment, everybody wants to kick back, prepare for retirement and enjoy some hard-earned work-life balance. If the wealth management industry had a more diverse demographic profile, this would not be a problem. But the industry's employee base is dominated by people who are entering the less-driven part of their life.

Panic by industry leadership is a very legitimate response, and those who aren't panicked aren't paying attention. Not only is firm asset retention imperiled by a dearth of young advisors ready to take over retiring advisors' practices, but even before they retire, many advisors stop bringing their A-game.

That's why we expect this year's Top 40 Advisors Under 40 issue to be even more popular than it has been in years past. We've done the lead-gen for you-now if we could only figure out how to get a chunk of those 300% deals...

Register or login for access to this item and much more

All On Wall Street content is archived after seven days.

Community members receive:
  • All recent and archived articles
  • Conference offers and updates
  • A full menu of enewsletter options
  • Web seminars, white papers, ebooks

Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access