Talking to Financial Advisor magazine, Diane Bourdo, CFP®, President of The Humphreys Group, shares her thoughts on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion issues in the financial services industry.
Bourdo discusses her experience as President of an all-women wealth management firm that had recently interviewed several candidates for an opening with their team. She found that although a large number of female applicants were knowingly over-qualified, they were “happy just to find a non-toxic work environment.”
This issue extends from working as an advisor in the industry to the clients they serve. Bourdo warns that women clients don’t want a male advisor who “doesn’t listen fully, doesn’t ‘get’ them, and isn’t attuned to their needs, wants, perspectives and challenges.” She expresses surprise that the “dominant culture hasn’t gotten the message that they need to listen more – a lot more.”
The article explores whether the financial advisory industry is achieving more than the basic lip service to diversity, equity, and inclusion. While progress is acknowledged compared to 30 years ago, it is slow. While some firms can demonstrate a higher than average diverse personnel, there often remains a lack of promotion for diverse candidates. Barriers cited include:
- lack of flexible work schedules
- not enough investment in coaching, training, and mentoring of new hires
- no mentorship or internship programs at the undergraduate level to show the career choices that are available in the industry
However, it is not all bleak, as many firms fund scholarships for women and minorities, and the Center for Financial Planning is working on a long-term initiative to raise awareness about underrepresented groups within the industry. Everyone agrees, however, that this will all take time to make a significant impact, so not surprisingly, many women and minorities are starting their own firms instead. The article notes that as society becomes more diverse, so do the demographics of the industry’s client base, and it faces the challenge of keeping up with our changing world.
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The Humphreys Group is a women-owned and women-operated wealth management firm based in San Francisco, California. The firm offers highly focused financial planning and disciplined asset management to a range of clients. Their expertise is helping women in transition navigate their particular challenges — such transitions as marriage, divorce, widowhood, inheritance, or that first stock option grant. Their passion is helping their clients take control of their financial lives and get smart about money.