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Overcoming Unconscious Bias in Wealth Management Hiring

Wealth Management's Asia Martin reports on Lazetta and other industry leaders discussion about pathways to broadening the diversity of the industry

How did wealth management come to be dominated by white males and what is the industry doing to change that? That was the question posed by Jolene Lane, the chief diversity officer and vice president for inclusion and equity at the University of Akron, at the Diversitas: Expanding Diversity in Wealth Management symposium on Tuesday.

The conference brought together wealth management professionals with university and high school students to talk about the lack of cultural and gender inclusion in the industry and how to create wider paths to employment for professionals from diverse backgrounds. Diversitas started in 2019 as a spin-off of Financial Planning Women and Diversity Symposium, launched at the University of Akron in 2017.

Usually held in-person to give students an opportunity to network with members of the industry, event organizers chose a socially distanced, digital approach this year.

“We start with the reality that people are tribal by nature. Is it surprising that there’s an archetype in our space? No, that’s true across our society. And I really do think it’s due to successful sufficient familiarity, as I like to think about it,” said panelist Walter K. Booker, chief operating officer of MarketCounsel. “The research all says our circles of relationship are relatively lacking in diversity. Is it surprising that when we are bringing on new colleagues that we stay within our own circles?”

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