The survey of wealth advisors comes at a time when the industry continues to wrestle with two overlapping issues: a shortage of talent, and a need to make the sector more diverse, inclusive and open.
A survey of 195 financial advisors and colleagues by Edward Jones revealed that the majority (74 per cent) found that seeking out a mentor was the most impactful step a diverse employee could take early in their careers.
The findings came from Edward Jones’ survey of its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Conference qualifiers. Respondents to the survey attended the firm’s conference last week.
The survey revealed the pressing need for wealth managers to expand their talent pool and hire from a more diverse range of individuals.
The US firm was told that the most impactful way financial services firms can attract more diverse associates is by creating a place of belonging (35 per cent) and offering greater networking/development opportunities (18 per cent).
“In order for DEI initiatives to be successful they must be embedded throughout the entire enterprise,” Edward Jones’ head of diversity, equity and inclusion Jennifer Kingston said. “First and foremost diverse associates need to feel like they belong. Individuals, regardless of their background, demographics or circumstance, must be respected, valued and met with the necessary resources to reach their individual potential."
The findings do not come in a vacuum, of course, as global economic and financial volatility affects the outlook. Branch-facing qualifiers said challenging market conditions (58 per cent), including inflation and geopolitical uncertainty, remain uncertainties in growing their practices in 2022.
Back in June, a report by Cerulli Associates said that US wealth advisors must embrace diversity and consider changing talent-building programs in order to fight an upcoming shortage of skilled professionals. More than a third (37 per cent) of US financial advisors who run $10.4 trillion of industry assets – about 40 per cent of the total – are expected to retire in the next 10 years, creating a talent shortage crunch, a report warns.
Embracing diversity is a way of helping to meet that challenge.