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Top Advisors Weigh In: The ‘Need for Open, Raw Conversations’ About Unconscious Bias and Embedded Racism

By Rita Raagas De Ramos October 7, 2020

FA-IQ reached out to top Financial Times-listed advisors to ask:

In the past months, there has been a call for greater diversity generally and in the advisory industry. What new diversity and inclusion initiatives have you put in place?

Philip Hildebrandt of Segall Bryant & Hamill. Chicago-based Hildebrandt has been in the industry for 35 years and has $19.8 billion in client assets.

“We have always striven to create a diverse, empowered environment for our employees in which individuals from varied backgrounds are brought together, supported, and valued. We believe strongly that our firm and the clients that we serve will benefit through empowered employees, diversity of thought, and more robust decision making. Among the ways we fulfill our commitment to diversity and inclusion is through our D&I Committee, which encompasses people from all areas of our firm and has developed a ‘blueprint’ for our efforts moving forward.

Recent events have created a need for open, raw conversations about the impact of unconscious bias and embedded racism. We have held firm-wide meetings, including guest speakers, to give our employees a voice on these important issues. We are also having additional training for all employees on these and related topics.

Philip Hildebrandt
Beyond these recent initiatives, we have several efforts in place to support diversity and inclusion at the firm. For example, we have been proactive in developing relationships with the career departments and business schools of historically Black colleges and universities to enhance our talent pool. We have a college intern program designed to provide opportunities for students from diverse backgrounds, and we host College Career Days to provide local college students with insights into our industry. In addition, we are in the process of developing a scholarship program to provide financial assistance to aspiring students. Internally, examples of our efforts include celebrations of important dates and holidays of different cultures to promote greater appreciation and knowledge, and to foster dialogue about cultural differences among employees."

This is part of an ongoing series wherein we ask Top Financial Times 400, 300, and 401 Advisors to answer pressing questions about the industry, their practice or their clients. Brokers and advisors make it to the respective Financial Times lists based on scores in six criteria: AUM, AUM growth rate, years in existence, advanced industry credentials, online accessibility and compliance records.

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