Every year, the number of undergraduate students from Asian countries, China in particular, entering U.S. universities has been on the rise.
Many of those who go through degree programs here will stay on in this country and some, advisors like George Dang, president of Acacia Financial Advisors, hope, may choose to become financial advisors, thereby increasing the ranks of a much-needed but underrepresented demographic within the advisor ranks.
Dang was one of a sprinkling of Asian advisors (he’s Chinese from Vietnam and came to the U.S. after the Vietnam war) in the profession when he started in the early 1980s, but he was instrumental to building up his former employer, the AXA-Equitable Group’s, Asian clientele. In fact, his efforts over a 15-year period — including employing and training other Asians to become financial advisors servicing that community — helped AXA-Equitable gain one of the largest Asian businesses in the Washington metro area.
In the 1980s, the world was a different place and many of the Asians emigrating to the U.S. came from a totally different culture, financially or otherwise, Dang says. Language was one of their greatest barriers, he says, and saving reigned paramount, so if people were going to invest for the future, they only wanted to do so with someone they could really trust and who could speak their language and understand their culture.
Today, things have changed dramatically in the world, and the Asian economies are among the fastest growing in the world. Many young Asians are financially savvy, but Dang still believes that when it comes to financial planning, they want an advisor who understands them culturally.