An overview of the Financial Advisor Development Program

Like many college students, my senior year involved tackling my job search. As a finance major with a concentration in financial planning, it was important that I found a job in this industry, while also connecting with a company that would support my desire to pursue the CFP® certification. I wanted to work face-to-face with clients, as helping people was one of the main reasons that I chose a career in financial planning. Working for a company that valued their employees and cared about career progression was another necessity.

In the midst of my job search, a Vanguard representative attended one of Virginia Tech’s Financial Planning Association (FPA) Student Chapter Meetings and presented on a new program they were offering for financial planning students – the Financial Advisor Development Program (FADP). I learned that FADP was a two-year accelerated rotational program created for recent college graduates interested in pursuing a career as a financial advisor. I quickly found that FADP sounded like the job for me.

The first three months of the program are dedicated to achieving the proper licensing requirements, FINRA Series 7 and Series 66 licenses, with substantial support and resources provided by Vanguard. Not only did Vanguard provide support and resources to help me prepare for the CFP® exam, but they even paid me for the six weeks of studying leading up to the exam. I would receive the CFP® certification in two years (as opposed to the industry standard of three years) through the Apprenticeship Pathway experience exception.

This program gives participants a well-rounded education, mentor relationship and hands-on experiences before they start their career as a financial advisor. In addition, the overall environment I found at Vanguard assured me I had found everything I wanted in a company. Every person I met wanted to make a difference in people’s lives. When I got the call that I had been chosen for the program, I excitedly accepted.

Fast forward a few months to June, when I began my career with Vanguard as an FADP participant. I was glad for the opportunity to be around people who were going through the same experience of studying for the CFP® exam. I grew close to my coworkers very quickly and found that having their support was a key component to staying motivated. Together, we all benefitted from the support and guidance of both the FADP leadership team and our assigned mentors – experienced CFP® professionals.  Starting a new position in a brand new program can be pretty overwhelming, and having so many friendly faces on your side is very beneficial.

With the testing phase behind me, I am currently in the program’s first rotation within Vanguard’s Business Development Group. In this role, we communicate with clients in hopes of bringing them to Vanguard. We will uncover clients’ needs and educate them on what Vanguard has to offer. During the second rotation, I’ll help Vanguard’s high net worth clients in Flagship Services, serving existing clients who work with a financial advisor at Vanguard and focusing on deepening my relationship management skills. The third and final rotation will take place in Vanguard’s Advice department, Personal Advisor Services (PAS), creating opportunities to learn Vanguard’s Advice methodology and demonstrating how our advice offer can help clients looking for guidance with their portfolio. I am excited to begin speaking with clients and helping them to get on the right track with their financial success. I am confident the knowledge and experiences I’ll gain from FADP will set me up for success as a financial advisor and I’m looking forward to all that is to come!

-Sara Beth W.

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