What’s Next for Diversity and Inclusion in Wealth Management?-Mathew James Wang
The financial sector is adopting the push for diversity and inclusion for the first time, though there is lots of progress and work that remains for this industry to become more representative of the community it is of service to. ThinkAdvisor’s LUMINARIES, which is a program that acknowledges and recognizes individuals, firms, and programs that are working hard to shift the balance and move the industry forward with D&I efforts.
According to research, only about 1 in 5 financial advisors are women and those figures only decrease for Asian, Hispanic and Black advisors. Sonya Dreizler who is the head of a consulting group called Solutions With Sonya says, “After the #MeToo movement, the public focus on anti-Black racism two years ago and anti-Asian racism this year, I’ve noticed that industry executives — including mostly white men– have a much greater willingness to have conversations around topics previously considered taboo.” Having conversations about these topics is the first step following commitment and action.
Another advisor, Renée Baker, says that D&I work “is about pursuing progress before perfection.” The industry has acknowledged the importance of these issues and the next step is to plan a well-thought- out strategy that holds others accountable for those actions. Not only are professional resources available for employees, self-education resources are becoming readily available for those to learn more.
In order to achieve and move forward with D&I within this industry, collaboration is a must. Baker says, “Together we can change how we hire and cultivate diverse talent — especially if we want to attract and, more importantly, retain this talent in financial services.” Financial planning needs to become more diverse since they serve such a large amount of the community with different clientele.
Gabe Garcia, the head of corporate development for Cresset Capital Management says, “Equity and inclusion is about changing the conversation, creating real opportunities for people to connect, and activating networks for coaching and mentoring.” To fully broaden the impact of the financial sector’s D&I efforts, Garcia says, “We need broad participation, activating at all levels of an organization, to become more self-aware and effect cultural change.”
With such a technological society there becomes an immense opportunity within media and conferences to lead a more inclusive and diverse financial sector, because of the voices and opinions being shared. Not only does this include effort it begins by reaching out and networking with those who have new perspectives. This is one way that other industries can work on expanding D&I efforts.
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Mathew James Wang is a strategic servant leader with over a decade of experience leading teams, managing relationships and driving product development for institutional investors. He started his career as an active-duty U.S. Army intelligence officer where he was awarded a Bronze Star award for his contributions in combat overseas. He currently serves as Vice President and Product Manager for Bank of America’s global prime brokerage business.
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