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Diverse Organizations are More Successful. These 5 Tips Can Help Attract More Diverse Talent to Your Firm.

By Carina Diamond, Diversitas Board Member

It’s no secret that the wealth management industry has historically lagged in diversity, equity and inclusion. While there have been improvements in recent years, we still have a long way to go.

Making substantial and sustainable changes is becoming increasingly important. The pace at which the industry is aging and retiring continues to exceed the speed at which we are getting new talent in the door. Attracting young and diverse talent is the key to maintaining and growing the industry.

As the Chief Experience Officer at Dakota Wealth Management, a big part of my role is focusing on building a more diverse team. We have found five main strategies that have helped us do this effectively that can easily be implemented at your organization as well.

1.Find the Right Partners

One way that we’ve started connecting with young and diverse candidates is by establishing relationships with local colleges and high schools. By meeting with professors, guidance counselors, students, and their parents, we have been able to build lasting relationships and share information on all the opportunities available in the wealth management industry.

By connecting with students as well as what we call career influencers – like professors, guidance counselors, and parents – we can start to build relationships with prospective employees and get them excited about the range of opportunities in our industry.

The relationships with students are incredibly powerful, but connecting with the career influencers can make a massive impact on many students, spanning dozens of years.

2. Look Beyond the Advisor

One thing we’ve found over the years is many students and other people outside of financial services don’t know what opportunities exist in the wealth management industry. In general, the public doesn’t really understand what we do – they may have a vague idea, perhaps more focused on investment management, but that’s just a piece of the puzzle. What we all know is that the industry is much more, and there are so many ways to engage.

There are a range of roles young professionals can pursue in wealth management, spanning investment management, marketing, client service, technology development, compliance, legal, and much more. We believe it’s our job to educate young professionals on what those opportunities are, so they can find the role that makes sense for their interests and skill sets.

Understanding what is out there and the different ways individuals can get involved in the industry is critical to capturing a broader audience and bringing in a more diverse group of candidates.

3. Create a Scholarship

One way that we have been able to establish long-term relationships with prospective employees has been through setting up a scholarship with local universities. Tying that scholarship to a financial planning major, or another related major, can set students on a path to join the industry after graduation.

Beyond setting up a strong relationship with students, these scholarships also are a big draw for parents. Establishing a scholarship for females in financial planning, for example, can help make more parents aware of the career options available to their children as they’re helping them find the right college and major.

Even a scholarship of just $1,000 a year can make a huge difference for a student. It helps get your company name and the industry in front of prospective candidates, and can improve engagement with people of different genders and backgrounds.

4. Develop an Internship Program

Starting an internship program at your organization is one of the best ways to introduce students to a career in financial services. Internships are a fantastic opportunity for students to test out a broad range of roles within your organization so they can see all the different ways to get involved. Your local colleges likely have job boards where you can publish free job postings. When drafting your job description for these boards, think about all the ways an intern can support you, and incorporate those opportunities into your post.

These students can bring immediate insights to your firm on points like marketing, social media, and technology. We believe a younger demographic of employees can be extremely helpful in attracting a younger demographic of clients. As advisors and their clients continue to age, we need to prepare to support the next generation of investors.

On top of leveraging students’ existing talents, these interns can also start honing their technical abilities – if they’d be interested in helping with investment management or financial planning, they can try it out. By building these skills among young employees, you can better ensure the future of your firm and get them on a path to become real contributors to your work.

5. Build a Culture of Support

Increasing diversity in financial services is about more than hiring practices, it’s about sustainable support. Establishing strong employee training programs focused on expanding employee skills and supporting their passions can be a wonderful way to increase retention.

These programs can also be a great tool for recruiting. Celebrate your programs and promote how you can support prospective employees in reaching their long-term goals. For example, many wealth management firms cover the cost of industry certifications and licenses. This is a great value-add that shows your firm is invested in professional development. Promoting this type of support can help your firm, and the industry, stand out to students looking for their next role.

It Takes All of Us

Beyond building a diverse team, we all must take a part in building a more diverse industry. We can all do our part to build the wealth management industry of tomorrow.

By implementing these five practices into your firm, you can more effectively engage with next generation diverse students and build a more well-rounded practice. It’s on all of us to make a change for the better of our industry and ensure the profession is sustainable in the long-term. It is possible, we just need to put in the work. Trust me, it pays off in the end!

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