Financial advisors serving minority clients often complain about the lack of proper channels and networks through which they can communicate with their peers. Scattered around the country, such advisors—a minority themselves—find it hard to liaise with their peers and exchange ideas and know-how.
Morgan Stanley Smith Barney (MSSB) is one firm that’s helping to change that. A little over a year ago, the firm launched a web portal, The Multicultural Financial Advisors Forum (www.multiculturalfaforum.com), designed to bring together financial advisors who are working with minorities and who, in many cases, may themselves be from a minority community.
The site, says Kerry Piercy, head of diversity and inclusion at MSSB, has two goals: To offer a venue for the firm’s own advisor force to connect, and to bring advisors outside of MSSB into the diversity conversation. It provides financial advisors from different backgrounds, who in turn are serving clients from different backgrounds, a chance to share insights and ideas about the work they do, the people they help, and the paths they took to success, and it operates in the same way as MSSB’s very successful Women’s Financial Advisor Forum, which was launched in June 2009.
“Since the site was launched, we’ve seen traffic coming both externally and we have folks leveraging it internally,” Piercy says. “It’s been a challenge to have people connect with each other, but we are trying to use multiple methodologies to get the word out to externally and to keep people connected internally.”