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JPMorgan Plans to Hire 300 Black, Latino Advisors by 2025

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What You Need to Know

  • The firm also plans to boost its recruiting pipeline through historically Black colleges and universities.
  • Parent JPMorgan agreed in 2018 to pay $24 million to settle a discrimination suit brought by Black employees.
  • Blacks and Latinos are underrepresented in wealth management, making up less than 5% of CFPs.

JPMorgan Chase stepped up its diversity initiatives on Friday as its J.P. Morgan Wealth Management division announced a plan to serve more Black and Latino clients and increase diverse advisor hiring.

The goal is to hire 300 additional Black and Latino advisors by 2025, JPMWM said, adding that the new plan builds on the $30 billion commitment to advance racial equality that JPMorgan Chase announced Oct. 8.

The announcement also follows a 2019 memo that JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon sent to employees after a New York Times article exposed racial discrimination at a branch of the bank.

“I am disgusted by racism and hate in any form,” Dimon said in the memo, calling such behavior “unacceptable.” The executive also asked managers to review the bank’s policies, practices and culture, as well as to be “active” in addressing the issue, Bloomberg reported at the time.

Dimon’s comments came about a year after JPMorgan agreed to pay $24 million to settle a class-action discrimination lawsuit brought by six Black employees, including some advisors.

The bank, along with dozens of other institutions, is a member of The Diversity Project, which aims to ensure that professionals in financial services reflect the clients and communities they serve.

Only 13% of JPMorgan’s total workforce was Black and 20% were Hispanic in 2019, numbers that were the same as 2018, according to the company. It didn’t  provide 2020 data or break the data out by advisors.

Other financial services companies that have stepped up their diversity efforts in recent months include Edward Jones, which recently agreed to pay $34 million to settle a racial bias class-action complaint filed in May 2018 by a Black former financial advisor. That firm recently announced a five-point commitment focused on equitable hiring, training, promotional practices and policies to better support financial advisors of color.

The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards said in January that the number of Black and Hispanic CFP professionals increased to 3,688, up 12.6% from 3,274 in 2019. The growth rate was almost five times that of all CFP professionals. The number of Black CFPs grew to 1,493, but they still accounted for only 1.68% of planners. The number of Hispanic CFPs increased to 2,170 (2.46% of CFPs). There were only 25 biracial Black and Hispanic CFPs (.028% of CFPs).

Recruiting Pipeline

The new JPMWM strategy will also include partnerships with historically Black colleges and universities, initiatives to promote internal mobility and resources to allow diverse employees to grow their career over time, it said Friday.

Over the next five years, JPMWM will partner with various HBCUs to provide students resources and information about careers in wealth management, and to provide scholarships, training and licenses, it said. The initiative will create 185 full-time positions specifically for this program by 2025, it noted.

“We want to drive a step change in the representation of financial advisors at J.P. Morgan,” according to Kristin Lemkau, CEO of J.P. Morgan U.S. Wealth Management.

“We have made progress in recent years, and hiring 300 Black and Latinx advisors will accelerate that progress materially,” she said in a statement. “Becoming a financial advisor is a great career — they help clients build their wealth, they have strong financial upside and it offers great career flexibility. We hope more people will choose to become advisors and choose to work here.”

The company’s existing Advisor Development Program, meanwhile, is providing 24-36 months of training to about 270 candidates with the “investments knowledge, mentorship and coaching needed to become a successful financial advisor,” according to the wealth unit. Almost 80% of its participants are women or minorities, it noted.

The wealth unit’s “diverse hiring plan puts great emphasis on supporting Black and Latinx careers over time,” the company said.

“It is not enough bringing a diverse workforce through the door,” according to Christopher Thompson, head of Diverse Advisor Experience at JPMWM. “You need to have a whole support team that makes them feel like they belong and can build a career. A lack of networking and mentorship opportunities reduces the chances of making real progress regarding diverse talent.”

The new initiative includes multiple internal support and development resources for Black and Latino advisors, including established forums that match emerging diverse talent and senior executives from all backgrounds to advance projects related to promoting and mentoring, it said.

Investing Support

J.P. Morgan U.S. Wealth Management also created an Inclusive Investing team to lead its strategy, as well as design and deliver products to better serve women, Black and Latino investors and other underrepresented groups, the company said. The team will spearhead new research and lead the development of experiences, tools and investment products designed with the needs and preferences of diverse clients in mind, it said.

“There is a huge segment of the population that is not participating in investing. The entire industry has not been able to earn the trust, understand the needs and provide the right solutions for women and people of color,” according to Jeanne Sun, general manager of Inclusive Investing. “The data is staggering and we need not only to set goals but also measurable objectives to tackle this issue and help close the wealth gap.”

Pointing to U.S. Federal Reserve data, JPMWM said only 34% of Black families have retirement accounts vs. 60% of white families, and the median retirement balance is only $46,100 vs. $151,000 for white families.