Serving the Underserved
Where the Wealth Management Industry Needs to Focus its Efforts
Meet Harold – a 65-year-old pediatrician approaching retirement. He’s spent his working years doing what he loves, helping children while carving out plenty of time for his family and friends – building a life anyone would be happy to have. What made it all possible? He’s had a financial advisor with him every step of the way. Someone who understands his needs and has helped him achieve a sound financial future.
So, who is that financial advisor? They’re Harold’s trusted confidant and friend. They’re someone who has been working with him for decades and has supported him through all of life’s twists and turns. As he has aged and grown his wealth, they too have aged and built their business. Now, as Harold’s nearing retirement, his advisor is planning on following suit – they have spent their lives helping people like Harold, and are ready to step down and retire.
While this is a hypothetical, this story is common. Investors like Harold often choose to work with advisors in a similar stage of life. Advisors who look like them and understand what they’re going through. This makes for a stronger relationship and helps to build trust between the advisor and the investor.
This has long benefited specific groups that are well-represented in the wealth management industry – in particular, white males. Recent data from the Certified Financial Planners (CFP) board found that of the 87,000 advisors who hold the CFP designation, just 3.8% are Black or Latino, and less than 20% are women.1
So, where can people of diverse backgrounds go to find advisors who share their experiences? How can young women and people of color get the same level of support, when their demographics are so underrepresented in the industry?
The problem is that the wealth management and financial planning industry is overwhelmingly white, male, and nearing retirement age. As more young investors accumulate wealth, how will they find advisors who look like them and understand their unique situations?
A recent report from Cerulli Associates estimates that 45 million U.S. households will transfer more than $68 trillion in assets over the next 25 years as a part of the Great Wealth Transfer.2 As those assets shift, the industry is woefully unprepared to serve these new investors of different backgrounds and stages of life.
The industry is facing a turning point – recruit talented advisors who can better serve young investors, or risk having those investors opt for impersonal automated financial advice solutions.
Where do we go from here?
The industry recognizes that it needs young talent. So, how do we attract that talent?
It starts with spreading information. Few students know about the opportunities in the wealth management industry, and even less fully understand the long-term implications of those opportunities. All of that wealth centralized with aging Baby Boomers will soon be moving to the younger generations. These investors of diverse backgrounds need support from people who understand their unique situations – not the same advisors who have been running the industry for the last several decades.
Starting in the industry and establishing strong client relationships now can set young advisors on a path to continue growing client assets. As earning potential for clients continues to rise, coupled with inheritances from the Great Wealth Transfer, your financial advice can make all the difference for these young investors.
How can young advisors get started?
If you’re interested in seeing what opportunities the wealth management and financial planning industry hold for aspiring advisors, join the Diversitas symposium on November 3rd from 12 pm to 3 pm ET. The event is virtual and free to attend – you can register here. Leading firms and standout speakers will share their thoughts on the future of the industry along with tips on how to get engaged.
1 Osterland, Andrew. “Financial Advisor Industry, Overwhelmingly White and Male, Seeks to Overcome Lack of Diversity.” CNBC, 8 Oct. 2020,
2 “The Great Wealth Transfer.” Cerulli Associates.