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Q&A with Carina Diamond, Dakota Wealth Management

We sat down with Carina Diamond from Dakota Wealth Management to pick her brain on the state of the financial services industry. Where are we now? Where are we headed? Who will lead us into the future? Carina offers her insights on some of the burning questions facing the industry.

Last week, Carina spoke at the Diversitas symposium. The annual virtual event is a forum for industry leaders and rising stars to dive into the future of the industry and opportunities for young professionals looking to succeed in financial services. Stay tuned for updates on next year’s Symposium and explore key takeaways from this year’s event by visiting the Diversitas website.

What are some of the biggest misconceptions about the wealth management industry?

It’s a common misconception that wealth management is all about the “3 M’s” – Math, Marketing/Sales, and Men. In reality, it’s a helping profession where soft skills such as communication and empathy, and hard skills in technology, law/compliance, financial planning, operations and investment analysis are all just as important as the math and selling.

One common perception that the industry is actively looking to address is the lack of diversity. There is a tremendous need for diversity of age, gender, and race in the profession. Younger people, women, and people of color are all not only welcome, but are desperately needed in all roles, both client facing and behind the scenes. I have been encouraging and promoting young women to enter and develop in the profession in a variety of roles for over a decade. In a close partnership with The University of Akron’s financial planning program, I’ve established a scholarship for women studying financial planning, hired over a dozen students as interns, and mentored others through guest professor speaking roles and resume/interview coaching.

The mere existence of a scholarship for women studying financial planning alerts career influencers – guidance counselors, teachers and parents – to the potential role for women in wealth management. I’ve also found that clients like to be affiliated with a firm that promotes diversity and is involved in the community.

What can the industry do to attract more young people?

Professionals in the field should establish relationships with local colleges and universities to engage with the students. There are many ways to do this including establishing a scholarship, offering a paid internship with meaningful work, being a guest speaker in the classroom, and serving on advisory boards.

Most colleges and universities are hungry for community/business connections that can benefit their students and help them find good jobs. Internships must be meaningful and actually involve work in the field.

Most financial planning programs involve training in industry software, for example, and the students end up knowing it better than some professionals actually working in the field. This is a great example of how the students can help aging professionals with their own succession planning.Some professionals focus mainly on product sales, and would benefit from a student trained in financial planning to round out their practice and client offering.

Why did you get involved with Diversitas?

I’m a founding board member and contributor for Diversitas. Getting involved was entirely organic. I’ve spent my entire career trying to attract more young people and women into wealth management. The concept of having a Symposium to bring together students, professors, guidance counselors, and industry professionals together to discuss how to help enhance and endow our profession has been thrilling and affirming.

Last year, in the heat of the pandemic, we made the decision to go national, and were amazed at the dozens of other colleges and universities who jumped in to partner with us. This demonstrated and affirmed the significance of the program and has added to the thought leadership and energy surrounding the cause.

As Chief Experience Officer of Dakota Wealth Management, Carina is responsible for providing leadership and mentoring to the other client advisors at Dakota Wealth, as well as directing marketing efforts for the firm. She also advises her own clients on investment and financial planning matters.

Before joining Dakota Wealth Management, Carina was the founder and CEO of Springside Partners. Her specialty is retirement planning and investment management – helping clients at every stage of life design a financial plan, customize or refresh a portfolio, or address a specific issue or life event. For more information about Dakota Wealth management, please visit