Baird: Wisconsin School of Business and Baird partner to develop future leaders of wealth management

Contact: Roger Lotz, 608-890-2045, [email protected]

The wealth management industry is at a crossroads. The average age of financial advisors is 50.9, and 43 percent are over the age of 55 with the same percentage nearing retirement, according to Cerulli Associates, a firm that specializes in worldwide asset management and distribution analytics. At the same time, the demand for wealth managers and financial advisors is expected to grow by at least 30 percent in the coming years, as Money Magazine reported in 2011. However, while the demand for younger, more diverse financial advisors who reflect current and future investors has never been greater, many business school undergraduates do not necessarily have the skills to seize this career opportunity. The Wisconsin School of Business (WSB) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison) and Baird, a Milwaukee-based wealth management firm, are bringing education and industry together to create a solution that prepares undergraduate business majors to enter this rewarding field.

“By collaborating with an industry leader like Baird, we are bringing an innovative applied learning experience for our students that will inspire and develop future wealth managers and answer this business need,” is what Wisconsin School of Business Dean François Ortalo-Magné envisions. He adds, “This type of partnership reflects our approach in addressing business challenges.”

The Wisconsin School of Business and Baird are providing finance majors with a formalized educational track in wealth management and financial planning. Called Finance 365 or Wealth Management I, this comprehensive course takes a holistic approach to wealth management. It emphasizes analytical as well as soft skills such as communication, relationship building and teamwork. Most importantly, this capstone course is part of a sequence that makes students eligible to sit for the CFP® Certification Examination, the most prestigious certification in the field, and become a Certified Financial Planner.

More than 30 years ago, Mike Schroeder was a student at UW-Madison. Mark Fedenia was the teaching assistant in Mike’s Finance 300 class. Earlier this year, Fedenia, now an associate professor at WSB’s Department of Finance, Investment and Banking, and Schroeder, who today is president of Baird’s Private Wealth Management group, came together to develop a distinctive case-based course. Schroeder and others at Baird have assisted Fedenia in developing this new pilot class, which launched this fall.

Says Schroeder, “Baird is thrilled to be partnering with the Wisconsin School of Business to introduce a formal wealth management and financial planning track for finance majors, and we are committed to doing as much as we can to ensure the program’s success.” He adds, “Attracting young, highly trained talent to careers in wealth management is vitally important to Baird and to the future of the financial services industry. I couldn’t be more proud of my alma mater for embracing this opportunity and inviting Baird to be a strong partner in preparing the next generation of financial advisors and wealth management professionals.”

Baird financial experts are not only lending their expertise in the development of the curriculum, but they also are leading and teaching classes throughout the semester. Some of those at Baird involved in facilitating include: Tim Steffen, director of financial planning; Aaron Reynolds, director of asset manager research; as well as Susie Bauer, 529 plan manager. President Mike Schroeder also is expected to participate in the class later this fall.

“My goal is to train students to have the breadth and business background of an MBA at the undergraduate level,” says Professor Fedenia. “This new curriculum brings the latest research with practical, hands-on learning from industry leaders to give our students the specialized knowledge to be career-ready in the wealth management and financial planning field.”

About the Wisconsin School of Business

The Wisconsin School of Business at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is a world-renowned institution that prides itself on academic excellence, a commitment to ethics, and real-world experiences for its students. Established in 1900, the school was one of the first five business programs in the nation. Today, it proudly educates students from all walks of life with its nationally recognized undergraduate, MBA, Ph.D., and professional development programs. Web: Social: Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn

About Baird

Baird is an employee-owned, international wealth management, capital markets, private equity and asset management firm with offices in the United States, Europe and Asia. Established in 1919, Baird has approximately 3,000 associates serving the needs of individual, corporate, institutional and municipal clients. Baird has more than $125billion in client assets. Committed to being a great place to work, Baird ranked No. 9 on FORTUNE’s 100 Best Companies to Work For in 2014 – its 11th consecutive year on the list. Baird’s principal operating subsidiaries are Robert W. Baird & Co. and McAdams Wright Ragen, Inc. in the United States and Robert W. Baird Group Ltd. in Europe. Baird also has an operating subsidiary in Asia supporting Baird’s investment banking and private equity operations. Web: Social: Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn