In fact, according to new research from The Hartford, sales assistants perform multiple tasks and assist across many areas of business. More than two thirds (68%) are involved in both marketing (pre-sale) and servicing (post-sale) in their offices.
The Hartford found that sales assistants are interested in their boss’ jobs; 24% are interested in becoming an adviser. Further, although 64% are not required to be licensed by their firm, 41% hold a FINRA Series 7 license and 14% hold a FINRA Series 6 designation. Those in the independent channel were least likely to be licensed (45%), whereas 75% of bank channel sales assistants and 69% of wirehouse or regional assistants were licensed.
Assistants are loyal: 83% have been sales assistants for at least three years, 64% have been sales assistants for over five years and 72% have been with their current broker for at least three years. Longevity is most pronounced in the wirehouses, where 80% of sales assistants have worked for five or more years. Those assistants who have worked with the same broker for more than five years were consistent across all channels, at just about 50%.
The Role of the Adviser
In order to capitalize on sales assistants’ potential, the Hartford says financial advisers can give their sales assistants more responsibility and facilitate continuing education and other education opportunities.
One way to give assistants more responsibility is to assign the lower level book of business to the sales assistant. “Sales assistants are not only capable of taking on additional responsibility, they are eager for the opportunity,” said Alan Light, director of allegiance programs at The Hartford. Further, “brokers can help make their practice more efficient by encouraging the continuing education of the sales assistant,” said Light.
Most sales assistants (75%) are interested in networking with their peers through some form of community, but more than half have little or no opportunity to network with peers. Advisers should encourage such activitiy, according to Light, because “the tips and best practices that sales assistants can learn from each other can in turn benefit the financial professional and the business overall.”