Baird’s top 2021 goals include stepped-up diversity initiatives and the continued integration of former Hilliard Lyons associates into the employee-owned financial firm, Baird executives told ThinkAdvisor.
“Supporting the needs of women and diverse advisors, and growing their ranks, remains a priority for both the firm” overall and its Private Wealth Management division, according to Katie Costigan, market director for PWM and managing director of Experienced Advisor Recruiting.
Noting she is one of two women at Baird to hold the title of market director, a top leadership role within the PWM business, she said: “Looking ahead to 2021, we are prioritizing an increase in the number of women in branch leader roles.”
The firm, which had more than $305 billion in client assets as of June 30, already has “several women in the pipeline,” but she said: “We recognize there’s still a long way to go when bringing women to the table in this industry, and we’re committed to getting there through promoting our top talent, recruiting from outside Baird and more.”
Previously, the company created Baird Women Advisors, a network of female financial advisors at the firm, in 2008, she noted, explaining: “By bringing advisors together to share best practices and help one another reach their highest potential, the group is committed to promoting the profession and making Baird the best place to work for wealth management women.”
Diversity and inclusion have “always been very top of mind for Baird, and we’ve been proud of” that, according to Laura Callahan, director of PWM Talent at the company. “But our efforts have increased” on these fronts in 2020, she told ThinkAdvisor.
For example, Baird hired Ashley Price to serve as a PWM diversity talent advisor in October, and she will be helping Baird with continued partnerships with universities and high schools in 2021, Callahan said.
Baird also has the PWM Financial Advisors Foundations Program, which, since 2012, has “always been a pipeline for [moving] diverse talent at Baird into a financial advisor role,” Callahan pointed out.
“To date, 43% of those associates in that program have been women and 25% have been … people of color — and we are increasing those stats looking forward into 2021,” Callahan said, adding: “We’re dedicated to having 70% of our next-gen Foundations associates being diverse — women or people of color.”
Hilliard Lyons Integration
Baird announced in November 2018 that it was acquiring Hilliard Lyons for an undisclosed price, creating a firm that was projected to have close to 1,300 financial advisors and some $250 billion in client assets.
The purchase closed in 2019, and included Hilliard Lyons Trust and about 380 advisors with Hilliard Lyons, which had its headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky.
Baird’s “biggest goal from my perspective” for 2021 is the “continued integration of formerly Hilliard Lyons associates, which was the largest acquisition in Baird’s history,” Callahan said Friday. Hilliard Lyons is now integrated into Baird, while Hilliard Lyons Trust Company is a Baird company that remains under its original name.