Baird and several other financial-services companies received recognition from the Securities Industry & Financial Markets Association on Monday for their efforts to encourage diversity, leadership and innovation. For Baird, the award represents another milestone in its quest to grow its female advisor force and the overall diversity of the Milwaukee-based firm, one executive said.
“Our Women Associate Resource Group includes women in all our units … and represents about 20% of our global workforce,” said Matt Curley (left), COO of Baird’s Private Wealth Management Group, in an interview with AdvisorOne. “The WARG includes about 450 members, most of whom are female, and aims to create support and a good environment in which we can attract new women and offer them a great working experience.”
According to Curley, who also serves as national sales director for Baird’s wealth-management operations, roughly 11% of Baird’s nearly 700 financial advisors are women. “We’ve had nice growth in hiring new women advisors,” he said. “It’s been a good year to increase that percentage and for our recruiting efforts overall.”
In terms of women who are in executive-level posts at Baird, Curley points to Mary Ellen Stanek, who is managing director of asset management. Leslie H. Dixon runs the firm’s human resources, communications and related operations.
Baird held a summit for its female advisors in September in Elkhart Lake, Wis., which some 60 associates attended. About 25 women advisors from Baird will attend the Barron’s Top Women Advisors Summit later this year in Palm Beach, Fla.
Many of the female and male advisors joining Baird, Curley says, come to the firm from the wirehouses and other major Wall Street firms. “We’re fortunate to be successful in this regard,” the Baird executive said. “There have been many mergers and acquisitions, the firms have changed, and advisors have wanted to come back to a culture that puts clients and advisors first. Our success has been and continues to be at the larger Wall Street firms, where we’ve been popular and well received.”
Other SIFMA Awards
In addition to Baird, SIFMA gave a second Emerging Leadership Award to BNP Paribas.
Its Sustained Leadership Award went to Goldman Sachs. Innovative Leadership Awards were shared with Deutsche Bank, Bank of America-Merrill Lynch, Citi, Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs.
“As an industry we must meet the challenges and maximize the opportunities of an increasingly diverse employment pool and customer base across the globe,” said Tim Ryan, president and CEO of SIFMA, in a statement. “This year’s recipients have shown a sustained commitment to diversity and inclusivity in the workplace.”