Third Seven Advisors
When looking for diverse hires, Dogra said that emerging companies need to show a commitment to the cause from the outset.
‘Having it as part of the fiber of our company values is something we can show a candidate to demonstrate our commitment to diversity,’ Dogra said.
He added that in an industry deeply rooted in doing things the way they have always been, change is going to take time.
‘It will take a large company in our industry to hire a diverse leader that is public-facing, media-relevant and successful,’ he said. ‘In the same way that Tiger Woods made golf a game of interest for many minorities around the world, our industry needs to be able to point to someone as an example of success and excellence in what they do, giving minorities something to aspire to.’
Third Seven Advisors is based in New York, manages $800 million in assets and has three advisors.
Signature Estate & Investment Advisors
One great technique for hiring managers is to bring up the topic of diversity during the interview without waiting for job candidates to ask about it, Fusaro said.
‘Let them know your firm is not a “typical” investment firm with a “good ol’ boys” culture and mentality,’ he explained. ‘We talk about our philanthropy, our diversity and how we treat others as family members. Of course, this has to be true and you have to be sincere about it.’
He also said that having founders and other senior executives at advisory firms openly discuss the positive impact of diversity can help to set a clear initiative and goals for the rest of the firm.
Fusaro tends to ask existing employees for referrals. ‘We encourage our diverse group of employees to recommend candidates for a position. Even if they do not get hired, we thank them by giving them a gift card.’
For Taylor, the biggest reason for the industry’s lack of diversity is that so few women hold senior roles at their respective firms.
‘This lack of female mentors and leadership throughout the industry helps to perpetuate the low percentage of females within financial services,’ she said.
At Boston, Massachusetts-based Prio Wealth, which has seven advisors managing $2.7 billion in assets, the main attraction for women and minorities is the fact that the firm accommodates part-time working and time off when employees are managing major life events.
‘For example, one of our managing partners works part-time, coming into the office two days a week. As she has other personal commitments, we’ve created a flexible schedule that balances work and life,’ Taylor said.
She added that the firm values regular feedback from employees about diversity to see where its initiatives are working and where it can still improve.
Clarfeld Financial Advisors
When recruiting, firms should look toward women- and minority-focused colleges, Soodik said. ‘If I were to post an ad on LinkedIn for a financial planner, a portfolio manager or a research person and I received 300 responses, less than 10% of them would be women,’ she explained. ‘In search engines, you can put in the names of those universities where the criteria is based on being a woman or a minority.’
Soodik added that recruiters should build up a diverse network of candidates to help in this regard. ‘I reach out to people and request exploratory interviews even if I don’t have a particular position open. I collect my pool so that when the position does come up, I have an inventory of people I can choose from.’ Clarfeld Financial Advisors is based in Tarrytown, New York, has 35 advisors and manages $6.5 billion in assets.
Firms need to create a culture that is welcoming and inclusive to all opinions and perspectives, Smith said. He added that people must feel they are respected and heard both during the interview process and in their daily work environment.
‘This takes not just a commitment from a single leader or a diversity committee, but also the full support and engagement of upper management,’ he said.
At Tiedemann Advisors, senior management created a diversity and inclusion committee, which is made up of members of the firm from a range of different backgrounds, experiences and geographies. The committee developed a mission statement to articulate its values and initiatives.
‘When individuals from other backgrounds would enter our workforce, they said they didn’t feel that their voices and perspectives – both personal and professional – were being welcomed or heard at companies they formerly worked at, so they routinely cycled out of firms both large and small,’ Smith said.
New York-based Tiedemann Advisors has 37 advisors and manages $14 billion in assets.
EP Wealth Advisors
At Torrance, California-based EP Wealth Advisors, Voisin has helped to launch an initiative to attract more women to the industry. The program encourages women at the firm to meet frequently to discuss career goals and vent about issues they see at the firm, while being confident that those issues will be taken to management.
‘One of my big responsibilities at our firm is to take issues raised in our women’s initiative to management,’ Voisin said. ‘As a result of that, we did our first ever employee survey last year, which was great because our management actually took it to heart and implemented some changes based on employee feedback.’
The firm has 26 advisors and $4 billion in assets under management.