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Merrill’s Andy Sieg: FAs Need to Tap Diverse Clients to Succeed

June 7, 2021

Financial advisors hoping to succeed as U.S. demographics change will have to ensure they’re finding clients among minority communities, according to Merrill Lynch Wealth Management president Andy Sieg.

“No advisor is going to be able to optimize their growth strategy in the decade ahead unless they are reaching out to these communities,” Sieg said last week at the Forbes/Shook Virtual Top Advisor Event, according to Forbes. “There is going to be enormous wealth creation that happens in diverse communities in the decade ahead. It is going to take a variety of forms — African-American, Hispanic, Latino families.”

Four in 10 Americans identify with a race or an ethic group other than white, according to an analysis by The Brookings Institution cited by the publication.

Sieg added that financial advisors should also focus on female clients, according to Forbes.

“Women already control an enormous amount of money in this country,” he said, according to the publication.

McKinsey & Co. estimates that women will control $30 trillion in U.S. wealth by 2030, meanwhile, Forbes writes.

Sieg also touted Merrill’s push for more diversity inside the firm, saying that around half of the firm’s management and rank and file are women or minorities, according to the publication.

However, while he said that he was “very pleased” with the firm’s progress on diversity, “we continue to have a long way to go until we are satisfied,” according to Forbes.

Last month, Sieg announced that the wirehouse was revamping its advisor development program by reducing the training period by half and turning primarily to Bank of America’s own advisors for candidates, as reported. At the time, Sieg also stressed the importance of tapping diverse client segments.

Sieg’s comments echo those of Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman,JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon and Charles Scharf, CEO and president of Wells Fargo, all of whom praised diversity initiatives at their own firms while acknowledging that more needs to be done in prepared statements for their appearance before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs last month.

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By Alex Padalka
  • To read the Forbes article cited in this story, click here.
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Tags:  Finding and winning new clients , Client retention , Fees and compensation , Staffing and recruiting , Bank of America , JPMorgan , McKinsey & Co. , Merrill Lynch , Morgan Stanley , Wells Fargo

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Independence will set you free Jun. 7, 2021 at 05:45 PM EDT

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What advisors should really focus on is become a specialist or superspecialist in a profession, ethnicity, location, age group, divorcees, specific business industry, etc. Diversity for the sake of diversity will get you social credits on the ESG scale, but advisors that move from generalists to specialists will see the most growth.