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.
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).
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 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.
Future Proof’s Wheel of Impact promotes the power of giving in a fun, dynamic and social way. With a donation of any size, attendees can have the ability to spin the wheel, determining where the donation will go and how it will be used. Land on the “mystery” selection and have a chance to win items, trips and other experiences.
Nobody likes to be pitched, but the truth is we all need a little help keeping up to speed on our dynamic industry. The What’s Poppin’ Pitch Lounge sets the tone, giving you intimate access to short and punchy demos from the most innovative fintech companies in the world. Grab a bag of popcorn, sit back, relax and absorb the next wave of innovation impacting the world around you.
The Future Proof Beach Bash with the iconic Surf City as the backdrop will be your kickoff to Future Proof. Join your fellow attendees as we watch the sun dip into the Pacific Ocean. Walk the Future Proof Boardwalk, sampling the local cuisine and cocktails as you explore all our festival has to offer, giving you a taste of what you can expect over the coming days.
What good is an event if you don’t experience the local scene? Join the City Crawl and take advantage of two newly added Entertainment Districts complete with amazing local hotspots, including some of the best breweries and eateries in SoCal, all walkable from your hotel and the Future Proof Boardwalk.
We convert the Boardwalk from an interactive learning environment to an immersive art and music experience. The evening is capped off with a concert headlined by one of the most dynamic up and coming artists taking today’s music scene by storm. Stay tuned for updates as we announce performers and more, creating a truly unique experience.
Get the latest scoop on pivotal industry topics and current events affecting the wealth space. By leveraging our robust event technology, you’ll have the opportunity to create both peer-led and industry-led roundtable-style discussions. Learn more about the most pressing topics impacting the future of wealth. These hard conversations are made easier as you and your cohorts grab some ice cream and settle in for an informal yet highly engaging conversation.
Physical and mental health is the cornerstone of any successful long-term wealth plan. But for years, our industry has prioritized work over health, leading to unhealthy lifestyles and employee burnout. The Health Is Wealth Center provides a warm and relaxed setting, allowing attendees to come in and recharge, grab a drink from the juice bar and eat healthy snacks. The space will also be home to daily group yoga and fitness classes as well as meditation sessions.
You can’t expand your perspective and think differently if you aren’t exposed to a broad perspective. That’s why our speaker faculty isn’t limited to traditional finance. The Brewing Lounge will bring out-of-industry experts to present their visions for a new world of wealth. To help fuel the conversations, we’ve created a true coffeehouse feel complete with baristas just waiting to pour you the perfect cup of joe.
Podcasts are all the rage, as they excite and entertain audiences from afar. Future Proof changes the game, as we invite your favorite podcasters to host their shows live from the festival. Forget passive listening. Future Proof’s Live Podcast sessions allow you to interact directly with your favorite podcast creators as they record live episodes just feet from the Pacific Ocean.
As the beating heart of the boardwalk, the Ocean stage will feature seating for over 500 and have the look and feel of a concert venue on the beach. The ocean stage will host a range of exciting content from industry-changing keynotes to the closing concert featuring today’s biggest musical acts.
The Pacific Highway stage is the most versatile stage at Future Proof. With countless setup options, the PCH Stage is your go-to spot for industry insight and innovation, all while staying current with the latest trends in money, culture, tech and impact.
Future Proof Live is our full-production broadcast studio strategically placed at the heart of the Boardwalk. Our very own Future Proof anchors will provide all-day commentary featuring casual speakers and celebrity interviews as well as unexpected guest appearances. Future Proof Live extends our one-of-a-kind experience to a larger audience virtually.
rhe Creator Corner is built to support creators, creatives and brands. It’s equipped with a podcast recording studio and first-of-its-kind Collab Lab. The podcast area will afford attendees the ability to record podcast sessions and will feature podcast consultants helping to answer questions of both existing podcast hosts and aspiring creators. The Collab Lab is where asset managers and fintech companies collaborate with leading and emerging finance influencers. Looking for engaging content built for the modern financial professional or investor? We offer high quality video and audio production for all your creative needs.