University Gets Real with Financial Planning Education, Taps Advisors to Show Students What it Takes

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University Gets Real with Financial Planning Education, Taps Advisors to Show Students What it Takes to Get Hired

William Paterson University Snags First TD Ameritrade Institutional Grant with Innovative Program

JERSEY CITY, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Running a financial planning practice isn't just about portfolio construction or the intricacies of personal finance: there are subtle people skills, new software to master and back-office procedures to be learned. These real world strengths are in high demand by advisory firms looking to hire new help, but not always part of the typical college curriculum.

l-r Duncan Williams, CFP, William Paterson Associate Professor; William Paterson students Kelly McNe ...

l-r Duncan Williams, CFP, William Paterson Associate Professor; William Paterson students Kelly McNerney and Kayla-Lynn Kasica; and William Paterson Financial Planning Program Director Lukas Dean at the New York Stock Exchange. (Photo: Business Wire)

With that in mind, TD Ameritrade Institutional1 has awarded a $50,000 grant to William Paterson University of New Jersey as the inaugural winner of its annual NextGen Scholarship and Grant Program. The university received high marks for an innovative new program that will feature real life financial planners offering real world advice to undergraduate students all across the United States who are pursuing a career in financial services.

"By providing a non-traditional combination of classroom, online courses and interaction with actual financial planners, William Paterson students can be better prepared to enter the workforce and make a greater impact on the firms they join," said Tom Nally, president, TD Ameritrade Institutional. "William Paterson's efforts will also benefit the independent registered financial advisor industry, which needs many thousands of graduates to take the place of retiring baby boomers and satisfy the growing demand for financial planning help."

William Paterson's innovative "Bridge the Gap" academic program was selected from a field of 12 college and university applicants by a committee that included leading financial planning industry groups and financial advisors. The program, developed by the school with the input of several local advisors, will create of a series of online "mini-courses" that supplements financial planning instruction in more traditional classroom settings.

The Wayne, N.J.-based school's online program will cover such "soft skills" as critical thinking and understanding the fiduciary standard; business communication and writing skills; how to establish trust with clients; basic knowledge of back-office operations and regulatory compliance; and such advanced skills as portfolio analysis and research.

Lectures are to be moderated by a faculty member but will feature real advisers talking about their firms and what they expect out of new hires. These noncredit courses will be made available to students not just at William Paterson, but those in CFP® Board-registered financial planning programs nationwide. For each mini-course completed, students will earn a competency certificate.

William Paterson says the program director for the mini-courses will be Elizabeth Jetton, CFP®, an industry veteran, columnist, teacher and practice consultant who was a former president and chairwoman of the Financial Planning Association.

"Financial planning degree programs generally do a good job equipping students with a broad knowledge of personal finance, but we want to do more to make sure that the new talent entering the field is 'shovel-ready'," said Duncan Williams, CFP®, Assistant Professor of Financial Planning at William Paterson. "When we talked to RIA firm-owners about the skills an ideal new hire would have, they identified specific job-based competencies ranging from soft skills, such as team communication, to more technical skills, such as using software in compliance."

Earlier this year TD Ameritrade Institutional announced plans to award $1 million to U.S. colleges and undergraduate students over the next decade, to cultivate a new generation of financial advisors and head off a looming talent shortage. Industry research and demographics show the financial advice business faces a talent shortage just as the need for financial planning help is growing.

The average age of advisors is close to 55 years old, while less than 6 percent of advisors are under the age of 30.2 Demand for these services is growing too, an important reason why the U.S. Labor Department predicts 32 percent job growth for financial advisors through 2020, more than double the 14% growth rate projected for overall U.S. jobs.3

Even so, the numbers of students pursuing personal financial planning as a career is not expected to keep pace with the numbers leaving the business. TD Ameritrade Institutional intends to do its part to attract more young people to the industry through scholarships, by raising awareness of the job opportunities and encouraging more universities to expand and promote their financial planning degree programs.

TD Ameritrade Institutional recently awarded $5,000 scholarships to 10 talented students enrolled in undergraduate financial planning programs in seven schools as part of the Next Gen Scholarship Program. Three of the students are enrolled in William Paterson.

"Our dedication to students and to universities like William Paterson does not end today," Nally said. "The scholarship and grant program will be available annually over the coming decade. It is our hope that even more schools and students will apply next year."

William Paterson University, Elizabeth Jetton, and Financial Planning Association are separate from and not affiliated with TD Ameritrade, which is not responsible for their policies, options, courses or other content.

About TD Ameritrade Institutional
TD Ameritrade Institutionalis a leading provider of comprehensive brokerage and custody services to over 4,500 fee-based, independent registered investment advisors and their clients. Our advanced technology platform, coupled with personal support from our dedicated service teams, allows investment advisors to run their practices more efficiently and effectively while optimizing time with clients.

About TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation
Millions of investors and independent registered investment advisors turn to TD Ameritrade's (NYS: AMTD) technology, people and education to make investing and trading easier to understand and do. Online or over the phone, in a branch or with an independent RIA, first-timer or sophisticated trader, our clients want to take control and we help them decide how: We've been bringing Wall Street to Main Street for more than 36 years. An official sponsor of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team, TD Ameritrade has time and again been recognized as a leader in investment services. Please visit TD Ameritrade's newsroom or for more information.

Brokerage services provided by TD Ameritrade, Inc., member FINRA / SIPC / NFA.
1TD Ameritrade Institutional is a division of TD Ameritrade, Inc., a brokerage subsidiary of TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation.
2 Cerulli Associates, Cerulli Quantitative Update, Advisor Metrics 2011
3 U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Employment Projections to 2020", Monthly Labor Review, January 2012:


TD Ameritrade
Joe Giannone, 201-369-8705
Communications & Public Affairs
Cell: 201-725-8584

KEYWORDS:   United States  North America  Nebraska  New Jersey


The article University Gets Real with Financial Planning Education, Taps Advisors to Show Students What it Takes to Get Hired originally appeared on

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