When Lee Jenkins, former NFL player for the New York Giants and founder of Atlanta-based financial education and outreach firm Lee Jenkins Group, joined the financial advisory business 25-plus years ago, minority advisors like himself were few and far between. Today, “on a percentage basis, there are still very few minority advisors,” he says, “and that’s very disappointing.”
One of the main reasons for the paucity, in Jenkins’ view, is that the financial advisory profession hasn’t done a good enough job of profiling successful African-American advisors and showcasing their success.
“If you don’t see people like you in a certain industry you most likely will shy away from that industry when making your career choice,” he says. “I really feel that financial advisory firms could do a much better job of promoting the success of minority advisors, both within financial advisory firms themselves and also through industry magazines and publications, in order to spread the word.”
Highlighting the professional success of African-American advisors is important not just because they are underrepresented in the profession, but also because, in Jenkins’ view, it is still much harder for African-Americans to get into the profession in the first place.
Few African-Americans grow up around money and investing, he says, so the financial advisory profession isn’t an obvious career choice. Further to that, “I believe there are a number of hurdles that are specific to African-Americans and minorities at the outset. Getting over these is much harder than it is for others,” he says.