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Symposium Panel: Different Career Paths in Wealth Management – Is it Really All Math, Numbers & Sales?

Since 2016, Diversitas has hosted an annual financial knowledge symposium that connects leaders in financial planning and wealth management with career influencers and students who are exploring the industry, to build professional hope in an industry that is working diligently to be inclusive.

We are excited to share more information about this year’s Symposium, which is taking place on Wednesday, February 8, 2023. One panel featured at the Symposium will be “Different Career Paths in Wealth Management — Is it Really All Math, Numbers & Sales?”

The panel will cover the 12 Tribes Model and the entries to the wealth management industry, which we’ll also cover in this article. This model helps illustrate the variety of career paths available in financial services, which reaches beyond numbers and sales.

What are the 12 Tribes of Financial Planning?

In 2019, a group of professors led by Luke Dean, CFP, Program Director at Utah Valley University; Nathan Harness, Ph.D, CFP, Program Director at Texas A&M; and Craig Lemoine, Ph.D, CFP, Program Director at the University of Illinois, and Martin Seay, Ph.D, CFP, Department Head at Kansas State University, created the 12 Tribes of Financial Planning.

The professors discussed the why and how they came up with the model in an episode of the podcast, “You’re a Financial Planner… Now What?”

They created the 12 Tribes to be a resource for students or young professionals looking for career direction within the industry. The diagram depicting the 12 Tribes is a circle divided into three sections, with four tribes in each.

Here are the groupings:

Group 1: Big, nationally-recognized brand names

Group one includes the following four tribes: wirehouse brokerage, property and casualty multi-line agency, life and disability insurance, and franchise or independent broker-dealer.

This group has large budgets, high sales, national advertising campaigns, and provides formalized training. Advisors working in this group may have a minimal salary when they start, and have to work hard to generate an income.

Group 2: Client- or student-focused

Group two includes registered investment advisors (RIAs), accounting and tax RIAs, counseling, and government, academia, and research. This group is excellent for people-persons, project managers, and operators.

Group 3: Robo advisors and financial technology

Group three includes robo advisors and financial technology (fintech) companies, banking, credit unions, trust companies, discount brokerage, and product distribution.

The creators of the 12 Tribes pictured the groupings as the past, present, and future of the financial planning profession, respectively.

Although the groupings and tribes have differences, they also share similarities. During a typical wealth management career, one person may work within several tribes before finding the right fit.

The goal is to help those looking for a career in the industry by reducing confusion and pointing them in a direction where their skills are best fit.

Entries to the wealth management industry

As the 12 Tribes model illustrates, there are several types of companies to work for within the industry and many roles to fill. Being a wealth manager or an advisor is just a tiny portion of what the industry offers people looking to work in finance.

Some other examples of roles in wealth management include:

  • Relationship managers, who build and improve connections with partner firms and clients. There are different fields within this role, but the goal remains to create solid relationships to maximize the link and foster a positive reputation.
  • Portfolio managers, who implement strategies and tactics to help clients meet financial goals via creating and managing investment portfolios.
  • Investment counselors, who provide financial advice and education related to investments and financial products and services.
  • Budget analysts, who evaluate the company’s budget and determine how to make or keep the budget efficient. They also help maintain records and decide if funds should be allocated differently.
  • Compliance experts, who ensure everything complies with local, state, and federal laws, regulations, and policies. Compliance experts can work in many facets of the finance industry.

There are as many different ways to enter the industry as there are roles. Of course, a degree in economics or business — even an MBA — could serve as a way into the industry. But wealth management is easy to break into from other careers, like sales, education or technology.

Jobs that involve helping others, such as teaching or healthcare, can also pave the way to wealth management. Educating people about financial health is at the core of many roles!

There are numerous ways to land a role in the industry, and there’s always room for hardworking and curious individuals that care about helping people achieve their financial goals.

To learn more about wealth management career paths, register to attend the Symposium. You can also watch last year’s Symposium, and other events, available in our Resource Library.