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Passing CFP® Exam and Developing Good Communication Skills Should Be Prioritized by Aspiring Financial Advisors, Redtail Technology Survey Finds

Category: Press Release

SACRAMENTO, Calif, March 29, 2022 /BUSINESS WIRE/ (original press release here) — For its fourth annual fintech industry survey, Redtail Technology (Redtail), the leading provider of client relationship management (CRM) solutions for financial services firms, partnered with Brigham Young University – Idaho; the results showed that financial professionals recommend that aspiring advisors sit for the CFP® exam while still in school and prioritize development of strong interpersonal skills.

Of the 4,257 survey respondents, 93 percent were in financial services and seven percent were college students aspiring to get into the field. The population of respondents already working in the financial industry were comprised of 40 percent independent advisors at a broker-dealer, 29 percent registered investment advisors (RIAs) and 28 percent in client services.

“We changed things up this year by partnering with a university and broadening the scope of the survey to address more of the issues we know are at the top of our users’ minds,” said Brian McLaughlin, CEO of Redtail. “First of all, I want to thank our partners at BYU-Idaho for all of the hard work they put into analyzing this data and for being so excited to participate in this project with us. And I hope that we as an industry will dive into this body of information and see how we can better serve both current and future financial professionals.”

Key findings from the survey include:

  • Seventy-one percent of the financial professionals thought students should put a priority on passing the CFP® exam before graduation.
  • Students were more focused on obtaining licenses prior to graduation; with Series 7 being the top priority license for 32 percent of students; Series 65 for 28 percent of students; and Series 66 for 23 percent of students. Taking the CFP® exam ranked fourth in importance in terms of licenses and/or certification exams according to the students surveyed, with only 17 percent of them anticipating pursuing that certification prior to graduation.
  • Regarding barriers to enter financial services, the highest hurdle was monetary with nearly half (46.5 percent) listing that as an issue, followed by licensing at 38.1 percent, certification at 20.6 percent and finding a broker-dealer sponsor at 10.4 percent. Of note, students believe their biggest hurdle for entering the career is obtaining credentials, while survey results support professionals counseling students to better understand the financial expectations to enter the profession ahead of credentials.

The top four skills, in descending order of importance, that financial professionals wanted to see in their future hires included: strong interpersonal skills; technical knowledge of financial planning; prospecting and marketing skills; and fintech knowledge. It should be noted that of these four, interpersonal skills were markedly higher, with 91 percent of the professionals surveyed voting for it.

“When I saw this data point in particular, I saw it as an opportunity for those of us in academia to push the envelope a little further to help prepare our current and future students,” said B. Taft Dorman, PhD, AFC, an adjunct professor in the finance department at BYU-Idaho who participated in analyzing the survey data along with his students. “There are classes that help the next generation of financial planners to learn about the importance of communication, but we have an opportunity to raise the bar by helping students practice interpersonal communication skills more in the classroom, especially on sensitive subjects such as personal finance, as this skillset is clearly expected by professionals who are hiring our students.”

Additional topics that were covered in the survey included: where advisors were currently working and hoped to be practicing in the future; communication platform preferences; generations they are currently marketing to and aim to reach down the line; and what can be done to increase diversity in financial services, among others.

To see the survey results, click here.

About Redtail Technology

Founded in 2003, Redtail Technology is a leading provider of web-based Client Relationship Management (CRM), compliant text messaging solutions (Redtail Speak), paperless office, and email archiving solutions in the financial services industry. The company is dedicated to helping advisors efficiently grow their firms by providing them with the core technologies that drive their day-to-day operations, offering low cost and easy to implement applications and integrating with many of the industry’s most widely used applications. As a pioneer in the financial technology industry, Redtail is committed to providing advisors exceptional customer service and strives to contribute in meaningful ways to its local communities in California, Arizona, and Georgia. For more information, visit


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