Step-by-Step Guide: Building a Career Path Ladder for Financial Planners


Jhe advisor career path is a way to structure your business so that it continues to thrive without you. There will come a time when you will have to walk away from your business. Whether it’s for an extended vacation, medical or family needs, or you’re just ready to retire, building a financial planner career ladder will pave the way for you to delegate responsibilities through a transition. transparent and will reassure you.

We have spent more than three years refining and developing an evolving career trajectory that reflects financial industry best practices and the experience and research we have accumulated over decades of shadowing advisors within our own businesses. A financial planner career path is essentially a heading with goals for your employees.

You can use your financial planner career path for everything from recruiting to coaching. This encourages employee retention, as individuals can envision their career years in the future with your company even before getting the job. This creates a sense of loyalty and commitment to firm goals.

What is a financial planner career path for?

  • Works as an informal mentorship program
  • Supports better customer service
  • Describes topic for career advancement
  • Accompanies individuals step by step in their career projection
  • Acts as a one-stop recruiting tool for top talent
  • Facilitates measurables for annual reviews


We illustrate the career path of advisors with a 5-step ladder. Each rung is broken down into three measurable steps, with a detailed dashboard, so there’s no room for misunderstandings.

One of the best things about a financial advisor career path is that employees and their supervisors will always know what they need to accomplish to get to the next level and move up the ladder.

During a recent episode of the Rainmaker Multiplier On-Demand podcast, Rob LaCivita, COO of JL Smith, detailed each rung of the ladder. Rob holds quarterly conversations and regular reviews, so he has the benefit of communicating often with Advisors about their career trajectory, future goals, and more to better understand how the Advisor career path works for different people.

Customer service advisors and paraplanners exist In the wingswhich means that most of their work is done without interacting face to face with clients.

Advisors, Senior Advisors and Practitioner Partners are in direct contact with clients front of the stage the roles.

Some people are hunters, meaning they have a natural tendency to jostle. They want to go in search of new business and develop better customers. These people will want to move up the ranks at a record pace.

Other people are Farmers who do their best to develop the business behind the scenes.

Hunters and Farmers can be of immeasurable value to your business.


It should be noted that not all employees will want to move up the ladder. And everyone moves at their own pace.

Some people are more comfortable coaching and developing their colleagues than constantly meeting new clients.

These people may spend more time at each step of each level, but they help their peers succeed and they do incredible work behind the scenes for customers and the organization. They scour accounts to cultivate more business with existing customers. As we all know, nurturing your relationships with your customers is much easier and less expensive to accomplish than building new business.

You may have an employee who never wants to go on stage. Its good.

If they’re happy in a support role that doesn’t involve a lot of time with customers, and they thrive in that role, that might be the best fit for them. You can still create a long-term career model for people who prefer to stay behind the scenes, and they can remain an invaluable part of the organization.

Ask your employees what their ideal career looks like, don’t just assume that everyone wants to go to Practicing Partner.

Does this person want to go out and find new clients and more business, or would they rather spend their time training new talent and building the team? Empower your employees to find their niche and thrive in the role that suits them best.


In the Frontstage, you have Advisors, Senior Advisors, and Practitioner Partners. Small businesses can also use experienced paraplanners in the Frontstage.

In the Frontstage, there is a two-chair approach to serving customers. First Chair Advisors consist of senior advisors and practitioner partners. At the same time, counselors or paraplanners act as Second Chair Advisors.

First Chair Advisors are senior team members whose primary responsibilities are to act as rainmakers to fuel the company’s return on investment. They close deals, seek out new leads, arrange meetings, work with VIP clients, and advise advisers to the second president.

First Chair Advisors are natural hunters who want to get out there, find new business and meet new clients.

Counselors in the second presidency play a supporting role to counselors in the first presidency. They are responsible for meeting organizational and follow-up needs, designing plans and communicating with clients.


The Customer Service Advisor role is an entry-level behind-the-scenes position with the potential to become a future organization advisor. They take care of customer administration tasks and new business.

  • Manage appointments before and after
  • Support the advisors
  • Keep meeting materials up to date
  • Process new business
  • Manages customer administration
  • Licence
  • 0-3 years of experience


The Paraplanner position provides transitional work for a more experienced Backstage team member to learn and develop financial plans for moving to the next level. They take care of financial and tax modeling as well as product recommendations.

  • Designs and writes financial plans
  • Does 80% of the heavy lifting behind the scenes
  • Meets with the advisor to finalize the deliverables before meeting with the client
  • Participate in meetings
  • Licence
  • 2 to 5 years of experience

Jason L Smith spoke with Simply Paraplanner’s Alex Hopkin on the Rainmaker Multiplier On-Demand podcast about how some people are happy in a behind-the-scenes role and want to remain a Paraplanner for their entire career. They started out focusing on paraplanners, but now you can hire for any rung on the ladder if it’s a remote position. If you want to hire virtual team members, check out Simply Paraplanner’s online job site.


The advisor’s role is Frontstage and client-facing. The Advisor serves as the second Presidential Support System for Senior Advisors and Practitioner Partners with Onboarding and Service Clients.

  • Supports the lead advisor to large clients
  • Supports small accounts independently
  • Implements analytics-based advice
  • May be responsible for the same functions as Paraplanner
  • Sometimes referred to as Second President or Junior Advisor
  • Licence
  • Working on CFP certification
  • 3-7 years of experience


The Senior Advisor uses their knowledge and experience to close and develop deals. As the first Chair, the Senior Advisor will mentor and guide less experienced Advisors.

  • Manages the most valuable customers
  • Business Development Manager
  • Organize workshops and seminars
  • Sometimes referred to as First President or Senior Advisor
  • Coaches and trains team members at lower levels
  • Licence
  • PCP certified
  • 5-10 years of experience


Enabling your advisors to strive for Practitioner Partner level gives you the ability to attract, retain and reward top talent. Practicing partners have ownership and interest in the business. They play a leadership role, helping to shape the company’s overall strategy. They are chasers and rainmakers who bring new business into the funnel.

  • Leads and manages the business from a visionary perspective
  • Oversees relationships with most valuable customers
  • Part of the management team
  • Stimulates organizational growth
  • Licence
  • PCP certified
  • Recognized as an industry expert
  • 10+ years of experience
  • Some companies never offer this level

There are many ways to grow your business. It’s about putting the right people in a position where they can thrive.

In addition to the step-by-step career ladder, the Advisor Career Path contains information on compensation structure, accountability agreements, and other tools you can start using right away in your business.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


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