Kasia Kulbacka (left) and Lisa Asher, CFA, are now part of the XYPN leadership team.

XY Planning Network, a providor of monthly fee-based services to Gen X and Gen Y clients, has named two women to its executive ranks. Kasia Kulbacka is now chief operating officer, and Lisa Asher, a chartered financial analyst, is leading XY Investment Solutions, a turnkey asset management program used by some 1,100 advisors.

The firm said that it designed its search for leadership “with the goal of achieving long-overdue equality in financial planning.” It aims for its executive team to be at least 50% female by 2021 and describes this effort as a target and not a hiring quota; its director-level leadership team is currently 56% female. 

Kulbacka joins XYPN after about 15 years in the energy sector, including management of 250 employees; in her new role, she will be focused on growing the firm from 50 to 250 staff members. 

Asher’s 10-plus years of work as a CFA include roles at Clearnomics and Fragasso Financial Advisors, her LinkedIn profile states. In addition, she has been a board member and Diversity & Inclusion in Wealth Management Conference chair for the CFA Societies-Americas Region.

According to XYPN CEO Alan Moore: “We’d like to see the industry move away from tapping a buddy on the shoulder in the old boys’ club to assume leadership positions. We’re committed to a systematic recruiting process that more heavily weights relevant, transferable skills vs. industry experience because, frankly, there is a lack of diversity from within the profession today.” 

XYPN conducts several rounds of interviews “to ensure an absence of unintentional bias,” and the final group of job candidates are asked to “prepare a work sample, which gives them the opportunity to let their work speak for itself.” 

“We think it’s more critical to find out if candidates can do the job vs. requiring them to have done it before,” Moore explained in a statement. “That shift opens the field significantly for us, and opens doors for talented, deserving candidates who may otherwise be overlooked.”

Kulbacka, who relocated from Boston to Bozeman, Montana, for her new role, says she is pleased to “work as an integrator across XYPN’s departments and service lines, managing challenges and removing roadblocks as we work towards shared goals.”

As for Asher, “I believe real financial planning can and should be provided to everyone,“ she said in a statement. “I joined XYPN to help further that mission.”

— Check out Kitces Addresses Concerns on XY Planning’s Rapid Growth on ThinkAdvisor.