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Millennials need to give a big shout-out to Barnum Financial Group!

The 2015 Best Places to Work for Millennials list reveals the workplaces where Millennials want to work. It also offers new insights into what it takes to recruit and retain top Millennial employees. If you haven’t seen the list, check it out now, especially if you’re a Millennial in the workforce! This would have not been possible without help from our Title Sponsor, Barnum Financial Group, an office of MetLife and a part of the MetLife Premier Client Group. We wanted to learn more about Barnum and their work with Millennials so you can be in the know, too.


Best Places for Millennials to Work 2015 trophy

We recently got the chance to interview Paul Blanco, Managing Partner at Barnum Financial Group, to get an insider’s peek into the company that made the award possible.


CGK: If someone hadn’t heard of Barnum Financial Group, what would you tell them?

Barnum, an office of MetLife and a part of the MetLife Premier Client Group, provides financial advice and solutions to help people grow, protect and distribute their wealth. We started in 1993 with just nine advisors, and we have grown tremendously since then. We now employ nearly 300 advisors and 150 associates. We had $79M in GDC in 2014, and we’ve set a goal to reach $250M by 2022.

CGK: What makes BFG different from others in your industry?

Barnum strives to build long-term relationships with each client through understanding their unique situation and providing quality service, integrity and financial education. We provide a superior level of support and service to our financial advisors so they can do the same for their clients. We are a small firm that thinks big and has the full capabilities of a stand-alone financial services firm, but we’re nimble enough to stay at the forefront of innovation in this industry.

We refer to ourselves as “a marketing firm that does financial planning,” meaning that we are dedicated to helping our advisors effectively market themselves to get in front of more people, who in turn want and need the financial advice they provide. We are constantly identifying new opportunities to grow our franchise and remain competitive in an ever-changing industry

CGK: Is there anything surprising about BFG?

Most people do not realize that we can work with people in various life stages, ranging from young professionals to people in retirement.

CGK: Why did BFG sponsor this award and the research behind it?

Jason Dorsey and the Center for Generational Kinetics are driving the discussion on attracting and developing Millennials and Gen Y, who are essential for our growth. We believe being a title sponsor of BPTWM will put Barnum front and center with the Millennial generation and will position Barnum as a thought leader in this area. It also provided an opportunity to work more closely with Jason and his team to gain greater insight into this important demographic.

CGK: Why is it important to employ Millennials and get it right?

Millennials are critical to our growth for a number of reasons:

  • Our industry needs to grow the number of advisors available to provide the advice and services aging Baby Boomers need as they transition to retirements that will last longer than those of any prior generation. A well-trained, developed team of Millennials can address that need.
  • As current financial advisors age and retire, we need to develop young talent that can partner with them to ensure business continuation.]
  • Millennials stand to inherit much of the transfer of wealth from the Baby Boomers, so it’s important to have Millenial advisors at Barnum who can begin to establish relationships with this up-and-coming generation of clients.
  • Millennials are now the largest component of the workforce, and they will be more responsible than any prior generation for saving for and investing in their future.
  • On a personal note, I am proud of what we have built at Barnum and all the great work our advisors have done for their clients. I want to make sure we have a great group of young talent to enable Barnum to continue to grow and succeed.

CGK: What are some actions BFG has undertaken to unlock the potential of Millennial

Our firm started an Emerging Leaders group. We look at this group as our “bench” of leaders. It is comprised of approximately 15 Millennial associates who have expressed an interest in leadership and have demonstrated that they have the necessary skillset for a leadership role. The group meets once a month, with our HR director serving as a moderator. They discuss successes, challenges and general leadership topics. Two times a year, the group goes off-site to spend the day with the Managing Partner.

We also created an internal sales desk made up of 2–3 Millennial associates who support our product specialists by answering basic questions while the specialists are in the field. The purpose of the sales desk is to provide an additional level of support to our advisors while acting as a career track for Millennial associates. After spending 1–2 years working at the sales desk, they have learned enough about the firm and our products to take on larger roles in the organization.

We operate using a “task force” approach to executing ideas. Each new idea is assigned a project team or task force made up of individuals who have the necessary skillsets to bring an idea to life. At least one spot on that team is usually reserved for a Millennial employee. This allows the associate to step away from their day job and work on something a little different while receiving exposure to people and processes that they may not be used to. The Millennial employee gets to learn from established leaders, who get a chance to see the Millennial employee in action.


CGK: Why is it important to employ more than one generation at BFG?

The experience, perspectives and thought processes different generations bring to each other are invaluable. Each generation experiences different world events that can shape their perspective.

When we work with our clients, we often affect multiple generations within a family. Having teams of advisors that span multiple generations is an asset when working with these families.

CGK: What is the biggest myth about Millennial employees?

The stereotype that they don’t want to work hard or take direction—that is not what we see at Barnum. In fact, our Millennials seek out new challenges beyond the scope of their job, often volunteering for different task forces and other initiatives.

A lot has been said about how Millennials dress. Our Millennial employees have embraced the “corporate” look that our clients expect from a financial professional, using accessories to add their own personal flair.

CGK: Why should talented Millennials seek to build their career at BFG?

We are a winning firm. The meaningful work Barnum Financial Group does has a direct effect on the lives of over 250,000 clients. All associates who work at the firm feel like they have a purpose.

A career at BFG empowers associates to build their own businesses while giving them access to the resources of BFG and the strength of MetLife. We were rated as MetLife Premier Client Group’s number-one firm in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2012 and 2013.

We believe in corporate responsibility, and we spend a lot of time and resources giving back to the community.

CGK: What critical strength or asset do Millennials bring to your workplace or the workforce in general?

Millennials’ strength is their ability to innovate and think differently. They can look at a process or initiative and see it from a new perspective. That new perspective helps differentiate us and will prepare us for the future.

CGK: How do you use technology to unlock the potential of your employees in every generation?

We use a new CRM tool that helps us manage our client relationships while allowing each department to communicate with each other. Everyone who has “touched” that client can enter their task and assign tasks to other associates. This system provides all associates with the ability to communicate with each other and hold each other accountable. It is mobile and extremely user friendly.

CGK: If you could go back in time and give your younger self career advice, what one thing would you say?

I would say, “Do not be shy to speak up to offer solutions, give ideas and ask why things are done a certain way.”

CGK: Where can I go online to find information and apply to join the fantastic team at Barnum?

Go to or call Susie Waters at 203-513-6066 or Jen Frisch at 203-513-6043.

Metropolitan Life Insurance Company (MLIC), New York, NY 10166. Securities products and investment advisory services offered by MetLife Securities, Inc. (MSI) (member FINRA/SIPC) and a registered investment advisor, MLIC and MSI are MetLife companies. MetLife Premier Client Group is the distribution channel name for the offices of MLIC.   MetLife is an Equal Opportunity & Affirmative Action Employer.

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