Black financial advisors from across the country recently gathered in Tampa, Florida, for the fourth annual symposium hosted by the Raymond James Black Financial Advisors Network (BFAN). At our most engaging conference yet, advisors attended sessions focused on professional development and networking and shared ideas for fostering business growth.

The quality of presentations was fantastic, and there were great takeaways for our financial advisors.

Perhaps what made this year’s symposium so different and special was the INROADS event, which kicked off the conference. INROADS is a non-profit organization that trains and develops minority youth students for corporate and community leadership.

For years, Raymond James has been a proud partner by providing summer internship opportunities to INROADS participants. During the kick-off reception, we invited local INROADS alumni as an introduction to our business.

It was an opportunity for them to network with black financial advisors and senior leaders at Raymond James and to learn more about our noble profession. With one of BFAN’s major goals being to positively impact the industry, INROADS and our reception this year are great steps, as we aim to increase the number of minority professionals in our industry.

Spotlight on Speakers, Workshops

Attendees heard from notable industry speakers including several BFAN council members. Among the most popular sessions year after year is our financial advisor panel.

Mario Payne shared a creative asset-gathering strategy where he increases client touchpoints by sending cookies to clients throughout the year; Thomas Dedrick shared insights into leading a successful business; and Lynne Henning described how she’s segmented her team in order to generate an extremely efficient and effective workflow process.

Educational workshops at the symposium allowed advisors to dive deeper into Social Security, explore tactics for prospecting and gathering new assets, and discuss a range of topics with the investment policy committee, including the direction of the market, the impacts of tax cuts and rising inflation.

Town Hall

We also had tremendous support from the firm’s senior leadership, with an engaging and candid Town Hall led by Raymond James Private Client Group Presidents Tash Elwyn and Scott Curtis concluding the event.

I’ve heard from advisors, both at BFAN, and in my role as complex manager, that the level of accessibility to senior leadership at Raymond James is unparalleled.

I’m continually proud to be at a firm where senior management prioritizes the tradition of these Town Halls and the importance of being so open in these discussions with our advisors.

Building a Network

One of the highlights for me was listening to an inspiring and motivating presentation by keynote speaker Simon T. Bailey, Leadership Imagineer and former Walt Disney executive.

Simon spoke on the importance of initiating business change as well as “harnessing the power of you,” helping advisors to understand what their unique value is and how they can differentiate themselves as financial advisors. He brought an interesting perspective to our business.

Our annual symposium is designed not only to offer tools and takeaways to help attendees provide better service for their clients, but also helps us develop a stronger network and foster comradery among fellow black financial advisors.

I wish to express my thanks to everyone who made this dynamic event a memorable experience for black financial advisors in all stages of their careers!

BFAN was created by and for advisors like us, and the firm’s continued support of our network reinforces Raymond James’ commitment to embracing diversity. More information about BFAN is available online.

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Tony Barrett is a co-founder of Raymond James Black Financial Advisors Network, complex manager of the Delaware Valley Complex of Raymond James & Associates and branch manager of the Philadelphia Branch of Raymond James & Associates.