When discussing diversity in wealth management, Barbara Billo said she is as open as possible about the achievements of the industry she loves and has dedicated nearly three decades of her life to.
“There’s a lot of work to be done in wealth management,” said Billo, A Partner and Wealth Advisor at RegentAtlanticsaid Financial planning. With a career in financial services that began in 1994 and advocating for the consistently underrepresented, Billo sees plenty of room for improvement.
“Part of the problem with wealth management is the apparent lack of female financial advisors. The lack or absence of (diverse) portfolio managers. And the truth is, when I think about what we can do better. , we need to get people to invest a little bit more and raise awareness about this profession.. . and I love it,” she said. “Nationwide, 16% or 17% of welfare counselors are women, and I’ll bet you a dollar to a donut that’s a fraction of that for the LGBTQ community that I’m a part of. “.
A deep passion for the industry and its ability to change lives for the better drives Bilello forward, amid the larger challenge of achieving true equity in wealth management. He believes that continued sharing of “non-traditional” experiences can normalize all experiences, opening the way for more people to get the financial guidance they need, growing businesses in the process.
“The lens I’m looking through is more like a kaleidoscope. It’s a very colorful, dimensional experience for me because I’ve been through so many different things and I’ve had so many different experiences as an individual in finance,” he said. “I needed to see the world differently.”
Financial Planning parent company Arizent’s second annual DEI study examines the state of inclusion across industries, the business impact of a dedicated DEI strategy, and how financial services industry leaders can continue to diversify.
The research aims to understand how different groups experience their workplaces and how different approaches to addressing diversity, equity and inclusion affect employees. The insights gathered and shared in Arizent’s 2022 report focus on delivering data points that are not easily identifiable to DEI metrics and identify areas that need the most improvement.
Those harder-to-observe points make the world of difference to Jesse Wideman, Jr. Certified Financial Planner and Senior Financial Planner at Facet Wealth in Baltimore. Monitoring attitudes, workplace toxicity, and whether consultants of color value themselves based on what they’ve experienced at work can tell more than demographics, he says.
These same issues go to the heart of the more insidious, passive-aggressive negativity experienced by underrepresented groups in professional circles—interactions that may seem harmless to some but have the power to completely turn others off.
Wideman says that while staff numbers have improved, it’s important to understand that each person in a given demographic is unique. One-size-fits-all fixes will not stand the test of time.
“At the end of the day, it’s hard to say that we’re going to create a healthy work environment for a white person who’s Asian or African-American or Hispanic. Because it looks different. everyone, he said. “Whose hands is it, who is influencing the culture?” begins with the question.
“I think it’s for everyone to understand what a healthy person looks like and say: How do we want to support that? At the end of the day, are we making a conscious effort to do that?”
Arizent’s July 2022 online survey surveyed 771 respondents across the wealth management, banking, accounting and insurance sectors. It included employees from small and large companies, different age demographics, and in a variety of positions from non-managerial to executive roles.
Here are seven wealth management options from the research. The full report can be found here.