Diversity and inclusion initiative deepens connections between advisors, LPL, and clients
Imagine helping distribute a deceased transgender client’s estate, and, as a result of your efforts, receive nearly 50 referrals of people who identify as part of the LGBT community in seven months.
Or meeting a couple on vacation who are impressed by your authentic and inclusive manner that they ask you to be their advisor and refer their friends.
These are two of the stories we’ve heard from advisors as they help a changing and more diverse clientele access independent financial advice and pursue their life’s goals.
Our diversity and inclusion initiative has led us to develop new client-facing content, educational opportunities for advisors, and occasions for advisors to connect and share their challenges and successes.
Christian Bridges, president, and CEO of CapRock Wealth Advisors in Fort Worth, Texas, first learned of LPL Financial’s Diversity and Inclusion Initiative in November 2018 at an Accelerate conference.
“I didn’t even have a clue that this was something that LPL was helping us with,” he says. “And I said, ‘I need help!’”
Christian had a few clients who identified as part of the LGBTQIA community. A client who had undergone gender reassignment surgery passed away, and Christian helped distribute her estate to individuals and two churches that embraced the community.
In the last seven months, those churches have referred nearly 50 clients to his practice.
Christian found initial support in a video series LPL created in which members of the LGBT community talk about their financial planning challenges and how they’re comfortable being addressed. He said financial advisors may worry about saying the wrong thing, but the bottom line is that his clients care only about being treated with respect and being given good guidance and will forgive an errant misstatement.
“That’s not even something these clients are worrying about,” Christian says.
"They’re worrying about if you care and have their best interests at heart."
— Christian Bridges
The nuances involved in engaging with a diverse community of advisors and clients encompass a wide range of attributes, including, but not limited to, age, sexual orientation, identity, ethnicity, religion, and life experiences, such as military service.
The LPL Diversity and Inclusion Initiative focuses on strengthening the connections all advisors have with LPL, each other, and their clients by intentionally supporting diversity among LPL financial advisors and those who:
- Represent demographic groups that are generally underserved in the industry
- Have clients with unique needs who require a nuanced approach to service
- Specialize in serving a diverse segment
This mission is even more critical because the anticipated wealth transfer from baby boomers will land with more ethnically and culturally diverse generations. The support we’re developing will help advisors maximize their efforts to address client needs and provide them with a competitive advantage in the evolving marketplace.
Christian encourages advisors to “embrace the opportunity that’s out there.”
Besides taking advantage of LPL’s resources, Christian recommends seeking support and answers from community leaders and other advisors.
Since kicking off the initiative, we’ve engaged in genuine, meaningful conversations with advisors like Christian at conferences and the Home Office. Through our Advisor Inclusion Council, a partnership between 18 advisors and 11 Home Office leaders guiding the initiative.
To help practices grow, retain advisors and clients, and tap into new investor markets, we’ve begun developing:
- Educational opportunities for advisors to learn the nuances and the needs of diverse groups so they can engage at a deeper level, and nurture a more trusting relationship.
- Client-facing materials that are more visually representative of diversity and tailored to unique client needs and aspirations.
- Support for outreach so advisors can connect with more diverse segments of the community.
- Forums for advisors to share experiences and offer support, like the new Advisor Business Communities.
The first Advisor Business Community, for African-American advisors, was rolled out in a two-day meeting in early 2019 in our Fort Mill, South Carolina office. Eight advisors attended, along with several LPL Financial executives and board member Paulette Eberhart.
“It was really eye-opening as far as the conversations that were had,” says Lauren Taylor, an LPL vice president for Advisor Diversity and Inclusion. “It gave our executives and our team some new perspectives on what we can do to support advisors and their business. One of the biggest takeaways was that advisors are willing to partner with us to make this initiative successful, to make LPL the most inclusive place in the industry.”
To hear more advisors share their thoughts on diversity and inclusion, check out season one of our Around the Table video series.
The views and opinions expressed by the LPL Financial Advisor are as of the date of this publication. These views may not be representative of the views of other Financial Advisors and are not indicative of future performance or success. Neither LPL Financial nor the LPL Financial Advisor can be held responsible for any direct or incidental loss incurred by applying any of the information offered. This material is intended for Financial Professionals.
CapRock Wealth Advisors and LPL Financial are separate entities.