TD Ameritrade Institutional is putting its diversity money where its mouth is, and Kate Healy is leading that charge. Ask the managing director of marketing and leader of the firm’s Women’s Leadership Initiative to describe some of the projects the firm is working on and get comfortable, because there are a lot.
There’s the RIA Career Exchange. There are the two grants and 12 scholarships (two of which are dedicated to underrepresented groups) to support financial planning programs and students. There’s the intern guidebook series to help advisors build a sustainable internship program in their firms. There’s the support for non-TDAI industry events that are dedicated to bringing more women into the industry. There are the dedicated networking opportunities for women and students at TD’s conferences and the conference sessions and the student résumés highlighted in the conference app.
It all comes down to sustaining the future of the RIA industry, Healy said. “We need to increase the pipeline of people who are coming in [and] just by dint of the population, they need to look different from what we have now.”
It’s not just attracting new blood to the industry, though. New advisors need to be supported once they’re here. “One of the things we try to do is tell the stories of successful women advisors,” Healy said. “One of the things we say a lot is, ‘You can’t be what you don’t see.’ If you’re not seeing successful women [in financial services], it’s not a career you’re likely to enter.”
TDAI’s Women’s Initiative is “two pronged,” Healy said, to focus on female investors as well as advisors. “How do we get more women into the industry and how do we support them when they’re in here, and how do we get the proper support for [female] investors? How do we teach advisors how to work with women and the specific needs they might have?”
TD uses it conference to bring those issues to advisors and educate them on what female investors are looking for in their advisory relationships. She noted that two-thirds of the wealth in this country is controlled by women, “so if you don’t have those folks in your business, you’re probably putting yourself at risk for not gaining that market share.”