Around the Table Episode 4: Growing a Diverse Team and Practice

Around the Table Episode 4: Growing a Diverse Team and Practice

May 15, 2019

LPL Financial

To grow a diverse financial planning team and practice, financial advisors should keep one important word in mind: empathy. It can help advisors connect with prospective clients and employees from diverse backgrounds. And, numerous studies show that increasing empathy can lead to a more successful business.

With the United States becoming more racially and ethnically diverse, success as a financial advisor requires embracing diversity and inclusion. In this episode of “Around the Table,” LPL leaders and advisors discuss some of the ways to make that happen.

Each niche market has its own specific needs and cultural nuances. At the end of the day, however, people from all backgrounds and perspectives want the same things. That includes better lives for themselves and their children.

Understanding that common desire — and employing empathy — is something that can help advisors and clients from diverse backgrounds connect. It can also help establish a level of trust, making the personal, often uncomfortable discussions about finances more comfortable.

Watch the complete episode to learn more about employing empathy and embracing diversity and inclusion to reach clients — and recruit other advisors — from a wider range of backgrounds and communities.

You can also watch the entire "Around the Table: Diversity and Inclusion" video series and learn more about what we’re doing at LPL to create a more diverse, inclusive culture

Wes Garner: We didn't focus on creating diversity, but it just sort of came together when we were doing the right thing. What we've experienced from that is we look for diverse strength in a lot of cases, but we also need those diverse experiences and backgrounds and perspectives because that's the community that we live in.

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Wes Garner: When an industry that's been somewhat homogenous traditionally ... When I think of diversity and inclusion, it really comes down to just making sure we're not excluding people.

Marci Bair: Right.

Wes Garner: And that we can work with everybody, and then everybody is familiar and we can grow in that manner.

Kathleen Zemaitis: And I was going to say, because I think probably some advisors might think, well, is that for me? Is it important for me? Because you just don't see the diversity yet in my community. But Wes, you're probably a great example of all of a sudden you now have a very diverse team, and now you see business growing from that. So do you want to share a little bit?

Wes Garner: Yeah, absolutely. We're in a market that's traditionally very diverse in the gulf coast of Texas, and it's ... We started recruiting a little bit differently and reaching out a little bit more broadly, and we developed a training program. The way that we started making outreach and decisions going forward, we didn't focus on creating diversity, but it just sort of came together when we were doing the right thing. What we've experienced from that is we look for diverse strength in a lot of cases, but we also need those diverse experiences and backgrounds and perspectives because that's the community that we live in.

Marci Bair: Right.

Bobbie Meola: And you challenge each other. If everybody thinks the same way, doesn't create the same opportunity as challenging each other and learning and growing from that.

Wes Garner: Absolutely.

Kathleen Zemaitis: So what would be your advice? If you're an advisor who's never really worked with diverse markets and you have a very homogenous group of clients, what would be your advice? Because I think, Marci, you were saying, boy, can't just kind of go in there and I'm an expert. But we also don't want people to feel inhibited. So what would be your advice if you had an advisor who wasn't familiar with different communities?

Lauren Taylor: I mean, I think the one thing that unifies us all is that we want empathy from who we're working with. So that's something that any advisor can relate to. If you're going to be a successful advisor, that's something that you can start with any of your clients.

Jason Valle: And I think even each niche market has kind of their own specific needs and wants, but at the end of the day, in the manufacturing industry, which I work in a lot, I get a big diverse group of people that I work with. And I've noticed that at the end of the day what people really want is a better life for themselves and a better life for their children that they had when they grew up. And if we all just realize that, a lot of the insecurity we may have in working with somebody who looks different than us or believes different things than us, it really just all falls by the wayside and the people open up.

Marci Bair: Peel it back, and that's ...

Jason Valle: That's what's really ...

Marci Bair: What we all have in common.

Jason Valle: That's what it is. Yeah. I think that's what it is.

Lee Bethel: I think I'll add that there's ... I think that there's two aspects. One is the individual clients that we're seeking out. Are we seeking out a diverse client base? If we are doing that, then we need to be sensitive to that. So to your point with mentioning about Spanish speaking, if we're looking to go into the Hispanic community it would make sense that you have someone on staff who can speak Spanish. And then if you need to be there with that person to give them guidance that's fine, but now you're relating to that and that will then bring in a particular market if you're interested in moving in that market. So that's one aspect.

Lee Bethel: The other aspect is if you're looking to hire. I happen to not be in an office where we're hiring a lot of advisors or doing anything like that, so we're just kind of market focused. But if you are looking to hire advisors and you want to go into these different areas, now then you would like to have someone who is representative, who can relate to that particular group a little more than you could.

Marci Bair: Yep. Smart.

Wes Garner: When consumers look for advisors, to select a good advisor, it's somebody that they can communicate with. We talked before about maybe somebody speaks ... is bilingual and they speak fluently in multiple languages, but maybe they're just comfortable in their native language or their home language or some other characteristic or-

Bobbie Meola: Commonalities.

Wes Garner: Yeah, commonality that they have. That's what's so important for people that'll feel comfortable and confident in their finances.

Marci Bair: But if you're doing intergenerational planning too and you've got parents or grandparents that maybe solely only speak the other language or they're, like you said, just more comfortable in speaking that, it's important to be bilingual then.