Summer in Charlotte with Wells Fargo
Nearing the half way point of my ten-week summer internship at Wells Fargo Advisors out of Charlotte, North Carolina, I reflect on the wealth of knowledge I have accumulated this far. The first two weeks of training, including daily speakers, online modules, intern phone calls, and a week in the St. Louis home office, introduced me and my fellow interns to the business of financial advising as well as to Wells Fargo & Co. as a company. Senior executives including the CEO of the Wells Fargo Advisors division and the CEO of the whole company spoke to us about their experiences, responsibilities, and goals for the future. A few key, non-technical takeaways were the importance of putting the client first, loving the job, and being an enthusiastic worker. These three pieces of advice are applicable to professionals at all levels, including interns, and I aim to implement these practices every day.
My day to day role varies, as I receive and complete new projects every day. In this business, the company is constantly evolving and adhering to new standards. One day I might be improving communication systems by connecting client data to their email for easy access, and the next, I might be looking at trends in a financial advisor’s client book to see which clients’ portfolios are meeting their goals effectively. Hands on tasks such as these have allowed me to understand the advising process and to identify the main duties advisors hold to serve their clients. I also sit in on daily conference calls that relate to professional development, insights on the markets, advising strategies and tools, and much more. The constant learning environment has truly developed my understanding of the business and the professional world. A unique opportunity I received was the ability to sit in on a few client meetings. Witnessing and participating in conversations between advisors and potential clients, or current clients, allowed me to connect all of my training and project work to a final product. Although financial advisors may only spend eight to ten hours per week facing their clients, this is the most important part of the job. Building relationships and trust between individuals is crucial to being a successful advisor. My perspective on the line of business evolved after seeing how clients treat their advisors as a friend, instead of just their investment manager.
In addition to my work, I make time to connect with the experienced professionals around me. Through these conversations, I have begun to understand the direction of the business. In this age of technology, all successful businesses are aligning their strategies and upgrading their methods to be faster and more efficient to their customers. Wells Fargo Advisors is adapting to the age of robo-advisors that may threaten the business long term. These robo-advisors are constructed to do the job of an advisor, for a lesser fee and more convenience. However, a financial advisor brings understanding and emotion to the job, something a robot cannot do. An interesting fact about the business is that the average Financial Advisor is 57 years old. There is a focus today on bringing in new and young talent to the field, for when the majority of advisors retire. I find this to be an intriguing occupation for our generation because of the increasing demand for advisors and the opportunity to make it entrepreneurial. Every financial advisor has their own strategy for booking clients, keeping clients, and managing their clients’ money. There is room for creativity and independence, much like our generation desires.
I am thoroughly enjoying my time at Wells Fargo Advisors and I look forward to the lessons to come in the second half of my internship. This internship has inspired me to apply to others within the company for next summer.
Talise Redmond is a Economics Major and a Markets and Management Certificate student. Markets and Management Studies will be featuring students' summer experiences all summer. Check in weekly or follow us on Facebook to read more about what our students are doing this summer.