STEPHANIE FORSHEE, FA-IQ: When it comes to diversity and inclusion, most in the financial advice profession acknowledge that representation of women and persons of color is an ongoing concern.
LAUREN TAYLOR, VP OF ADVISOR DIVERSITY & INCLUSION, LPL FINANCIAL: We definitely realize that diversity is lacking industrywide. Both numbers for women in the industry and advisors of color in the industry have remained pretty stagnant or are growing really slowly, even over the past 20 years or so.
STEPHANIE FORSHEE: This realization has prompted brokerages like LPL Financial and Raymond James to create roles focused on diversity and inclusion within their networks in recent years.
LAUREN TAYLOR: The industry needs to realize that we need to take immediate and near-term steps but realize the the effects are going to be more gradual because the barriers to entry and the reasons that we don’t have that diversity, those reasons have been in existence for a long time.
STEPHANIE FORSHEE: The killing of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis is a potential turning point for the country. In some ways, it seems like the world changed overnight — with protests, posts swarming social media and public figures demanding racial equality. The momentum immediately captured the attention of businesses, including RIAs and brokerages. Many FAs chose not to stand idly by.
RENE NOURSE, FOUNDER AND MANAGING DIRECTOR, URBAN WEALTH MANAGEMENT: One good thing about this is that it has raised the interest of all the people here, so many people here in the United States, and in other countries, who are protesting and acknowledging that this has been a problem for some time. It has to change.
STEPHANIE FORSHEE: Firms and financial advisors of all backgrounds are being compelled to be a part of that change, whether it be by committing to more diverse hires or donating to causes that combat social injustice.
RIC EDELMAN, FOUNDER, EDELMAN FINANCIAL ENGINES: Diversity matters. It’s always mattered to us. It’s long overdue that we address this with the seriousness and devotion to elimination that has been rooted in our country to date. So I’m hopeful, I believe we’re all hopeful that George Floyd’s murder is going to represent a sea change, that we will look back on this in the future and say that was the date that America changed for the better.
RENEE BAKER, HEAD OF ADVISOR INCLUSION NETWORKS, RAYMOND JAMES: The recent events surrounding everything going on with racial injustice really just opened up the dialogue. It sparked more interest and the discussions — more listening, more conversations — and as a result, more action. While it’s been an emotional time following Covid and all that went on with Geroge Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement, I think advisors and associates and leaders are just feeling more activated.
STEPHANIE FORSHEE: Many advisors who identify with minority groups often speak out about the need for allies, prompting leaders in the industry to be vocal about this need.
JOHN PIERCE, HEAD OF BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT, CETERA FINANCIAL GROUP: I don’t want to be disingenuous with social media posts. It’s up to people like me to actually do something, not post something. Companies that respond, I think it’s terrific to understand how they respond and how they think about things. And the companies that are silent — that says a lot if you’re silent. I think it’s more important not how you respond today, but what are you going to do about it? My message to people who look like me is it’s time to do.
STEPHANIE FORSHEE: For Financial Advisor IQ, I’m Stephanie Forshee.