Advisor Diversity

There is an old joke in investment management that if everything in your portfolio went up, then it isn’t diversified enough. The same line of thinking also applies to those who work in the industry as well; if everyone thinks the same way then we could get systemic errors occurring all the time. Thankfully diversity has become a key trait to being a successful asset manager and advisor, along with curiosity, tenacity and integrity.


Time has the magical ability to change all things and allow access to fundamental financial advice for all; every age group, gender, family type, religion, sexuality, language or cultural group. The reality is that money is personal. Generally, clients want to talk about their financial issues with someone who is on the same wavelength and appreciates their values, culture and lifestyle.


Today’s clients are expecting the advisor sitting across from them to understand their specific values and culture, and safeguard their financial future. After all, strength lies in differences, not in similarities. However, it is up to each individual advisor to overcome the “stale” part.


Most good advisors are passionate about what they do and actively seek to improve the lives of the clients they work with. But in an increasingly fast paced world with highly volatile and complex markets, going it alone is becoming more difficult. Knowledge is crucial to succeeding in the new world; as is knowing what you do not know. So, advisors will need to adjust their perspective and practices accordingly to successfully navigate the sea of change that is coming.


Here are 5 things that advisors need to do:


  1. Win the War for Talent. Advisors need to prioritize talent management by hiring (and if need be firing) people who have the right qualities and skills and who can strategically move your practice forward. Systematic recruitment, retention and training will be a key to success.
  2. Leverage Technology and Innovation. Make your practice future-ready by embracing innovation and new technologies.
  3. Collaborate. Focus on what you can do yourself and what can be done with third party organizations. There is no need to recreate the wheel, just reach out and get the help you need.
  4. Rejuvenate your Practice Culture. Set out a bold vision that is undaunted by tradition. Having a conservative, “fear of failure” culture will only hamper your practice and drag you down by inertia.
  5. Invest in Diversity. The industry is increasingly undergoing a digital transformation. The next wave of clients think, act and behave differently so by positioning yourself now you will be well situated for the future.


The industry is changing and the demand for financial services that require empathy and top-notch communication skills is rising. Financial advisors are a key conduit of financial knowledge. But the next 10 years will change the landscape beyond recognition. Sure, robo advice grabbed the media’s attention and version 1.0 proved to be a damp squid. But robo 2.0 will be better and robo 5.0 whenever it occurs will be better still. It is the incremental creep that eventual changes the world, not the moonshots.


By being enlightened and progressive you will help clients prosper. There is nothing wrong with being who you are; after all it has gotten you to where you are today. But what you cannot do is remain mired in the past, resistant to new thinking and strategies. The reality is that the industry as it is currently configured has helped countless clients achieve their goals and embracing diversity will get us to where we need to be. Sometimes though, clients just want a hamburger and serving them foie gras does not work.

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