As communities become more diverse, LPL Financial is developing innovative approaches to better equip advisors in growing and supporting an evolving client base. LPL Financial’s Advisor Diversity and Inclusion team is creating new materials and presentations focused on serving the LGBTQ community.
“Awareness and authenticity is key. If we understand our unconscious bias as advisors, it brings us closer to helping others no matter gender, race or sexual orientation,” said LPL advisor Julia Carlson, CEO, Financial Freedom Wealth Management Group. “The LGBTQ community creates opportunity to advisors if they are open to it.”
In fact, according to the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, the LGBTQ population is between 16 and 20 million people, with 1.4 million LGBTQ-owned businesses in the U.S. Two-thirds of same-sex couples own a home and about one-third of LGBTQ individuals have an annual income upward of $100,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and the Urban Institute, demonstrating the opportunity to provide financial guidance to this growing client segment.
Following a methodical approach that leverages extensive research about the LGBTQ community, LPL Financial is producing a range of easy-to-use tools and resources to enable advisors to support LGBTQ investors. During the early development –or “Alpha” stage—the LPL team worked closely with a small group of expert LGBTQ advisors, as well as advisors, like Carlson, who are looking to grow their practice but may be less familiar with the LGBTQ community. Although her firm is already inclusive, she says, Carlson joined LPL’s innovative program to learn more and deepen ways to connect with all clients.
Carlson was among a small group of advisors who participated in the firm’s LGBTQ Investment Day, held in mid-February in Vancouver, Wash. Product sponsors and a panel of experts provided insights to help advisors better understand the nuanced needs and preferences of LGBTQ investors. In addition to discussing the community’s unique wealth planning, preservation and planning needs, they also offered ideas for strategic messaging and branding.
“People want to see images that speak directly to them and make them feel safe to be open and honest,” said LPL Financial advisor Marci Bair, president, Bair Financial Planning, which specializes in helping LGBTQ clients. “I applaud LPL’s efforts to be more diverse and inclusive, not only to recruit and bring on new talented advisors, but to support existing advisors by helping them understand that demographics are changing and they need to adapt to reach new markets.”
The firm is reviewing feedback and updating new tools, and continues to seek additional advisors to take part in the development and testing of the offering.
“Our goal is to equip advisors with the tools they need to connect with new cultural markets in their evolving communities,” said Kathleen Zemaitis, LPL Financial senior vice president, Advisor Diversity and Inclusion. “The input and feedback shared by our advisors is enabling us to give them what they need to reach new clients and build lasting relationships.”
Learn more about this initiative by emailing [email protected].
LPL Financial, Financial Freedom Wealth Management and Bair Financial Planning are separate entities.