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Changing Faces of Wealth

Happy International Women’s Day.


My team and I have been busy over the last several weeks. We announced the #RiseTogether campaign and partnership with my good friends Dasarte Yarnway, Emlen Miles-Mattingly, and their new venture, Onyx Advisor Network. We also dropped the first set of Future Proof speakers — dedicated to elevating black voices in the wealth management industry.


You can expect to see more partnerships and speakers announced in the coming weeks as part of Future Proof’s Changing Faces of Wealth initiative, a movement centered around leveling the playing field for historically underrepresented financial professionals in wealth management.


Why You Should Care: Diversity & Inclusion is a Competitive Advantage

Investment professionals, industry leaders, wealth management firms, and financial advisory firms should all care about making our industry more diverse and inclusive. Here’s why: 


It’s good for business.

The facts:

  • Women are the fastest-growing group of investors in the wealth management industry.
  • More than half of the U.S. population is female.
  • Women control one-third of household assets (more than $10 trillion) in the U.S.

Most of today’s wealth managers grow their businesses through referrals from clients and other professionals. If you want to grow your business, focus on recruiting a more diverse team. Doing so will help you be more relatable and provide better service to potential clients, while also future-proofing your practice.


McKinsey & Company projects that by 2030, women will control a majority of the $30 trillion in assets inherited as part of the ongoing Great Wealth Transfer, yet only about 1 in 5 financial advisors are women.


And these figures are much lower for Black, Hispanic, and Asian advisors. The need to recruit, train and retain diverse financial advisors that reflect today’s equally diverse clientele is paramount. To be successful, your workforce must reflect the diverse communities you aspire to serve.


It’s no longer just morally correct to focus on gender, generational, and ethnic diversity; it’s a savvy and necessary commercial strategy. 


Financial advisors are old (sorry, but it’s true).

The facts: 

  • The average age of a financial advisor is 55 years old.
  • One-fifth of the current financial advisor workforce is 65 or older.
  • Only 10% of the current financial advisor workforce is under 35.

Making the wealth management industry more inclusive is critical for attracting younger professionals. Over the next decade, more than 111,500 financial advisors representing one-third of the workforce and assets under management are expected to retire.


Wealth management and asset management firms need to emphasize recruiting, mentoring, and retaining diverse talent. Many firms, large and small, offer career development programs for women and minority talent. However, for these programs to be effective, firms must focus on retention. It’s not just about attracting diverse candidates, it’s about making sure they have the tools they need to be successful. 


An annual conference platform for growth and opportunity

Diversity and inclusion are ingrained in Future Proof’s culture, which is a dramatic departure from other financial advisor conferences, where the extent of the organizer’s D&I efforts is a panel session featuring non-white men talking about diversity and inclusion. 

That’s not what Future Proof is.


We’re committed to building a diverse event audience, including attendees and speakers of different races, genders, ethnicities, physical and mental abilities, ages, sexual orientations, gender identities, gender expressions, religions, and socioeconomic status.


Our ability to innovate as a financial services industry relies on welcoming varying perspectives and thoughts to challenge the status quo. By cultivating an inclusive environment, we create opportunities that empower our audience to collaborate, develop and inspire positive change together as a community. 


To make financial services, financial advice, and the wealth management industry more welcoming, all of us have a responsibility to create environments in which everyone feels comfortable expressing their perspectives and speaking up for themselves and others.


We are excited to have Future Proof serve as the annual platform for these much-needed discussions and interactions.  


Doing Our Part: Changing Faces of Wealth Initiative

Through the creation of the Future Proof Festival, Advisor Circle aims to support the development of a new wealth management industry that is more exciting, diverse, inclusive, tech-enabled, and forward-thinking. Here’s our three-pronged approach for leveling the playing field for historically underrepresented financial professionals in wealth management:


No “Pay-to-Play” Content

Most industry conferences are supported by sponsored content, which means asset managers, fintech companies, and other financial services firms pay a sponsorship fee in exchange for a guarantee that the speaker and topic of their choice will be part of the agenda. The potential conflicts here are apparent, but more importantly, the lack of editorial control all but prohibits event organizers from creating a genuinely diverse speaker faculty and content program. 


Early Exposure to the Financial Planning Profession

One big obstacle to attracting young people out of college is that they often have not heard about careers in wealth management. That may lead them to start their careers in other professions and discover wealth management by accident.


Within the industry, many have pointed out the “pipeline problem” as the reason a number of diversity initiatives fail. Instead of debating whether this is a myth or not, we decided to take action by allowing students interested in pursuing a career in wealth management the ability to attend Future Proof at no cost.  Access to a community event featuring industry heavyweights, experienced advisors, and deep learning opportunities might be the “pipeline answer.”  


We are providing students exposure to our industry by offering complimentary access to the 2022 Future Proof Festival. If you are a student thinking about a career in wealth management, register here


Lowering the Barrier to Entry

For many independent advisors, investment advisory firms, and business owners, the all-in cost of in-person events can prohibit participation. To combat this roadblock, we’re partnering with Onyx Advisor Network to create a buy-one, give-one attendee referral program.


The #RiseTogether campaign runs from Tuesday, February 1, through Thursday, March 31, in alignment with Black History Month and Women’s History Month. During this time, any paying attendee who registers for the 2022 Future Proof Festival will have the ability to offer an underrepresented industry colleague a complimentary ticket to the event on their behalf. (The program applies only to financial advisor or institutional investor registration passes.)


Each paying attendee of Future Proof 2022 who participates in the referral program will be added to a raffle to win a 3-night stay at the Hyatt Huntington Beach during the event.


We hope to see you at Future Proof in September! 

Matt Middleton

Matt Middleton is Co-Founder and CEO of Advisor Circle, a content and product studio for the financial services industry and the creator of the world’s first wealth festival, Future Proof. 



Future Proof is set to bring together the world’s most prominent figures and emerging minds to explore the intersection of money, tech, culture and impact.


Future Proof brings together an entirely new community of financial advisors, institutional investors, asset managers, fintech startups, investors, financial creators, activists, artists, musicians and other key stakeholders around an unprecedented experience and agenda.