3 tips on retaining diverse talent with inclusive cultures


When it comes to improving diversity at a wealth management firm, it’s not necessarily who’s hired but who stays that counts. And replacing advisors, especially good ones, is a costly affair

Key to successful retention is creating an inclusive environment for all employees to thrive, according to Richard Shaw, CFP Board director and principal and senior client advisor at Bessemer Trust. 

“Without inclusion, retention is not possible,” Shaw said, speaking on a panel Thursday at the CFP Board Center for Financial Planning’s sixth annual diversity summit in Arlington, Virginia. Shaw added that organizations must foster a sense of belonging among employees. 

“If employees feel a sense of belonging — they can bring their authentic sense of self to work every day — they are more likely to stay with the organization and contribute to that organization.”

Shaw moderated the panel, aptly titled “Creative Retention Strategies: Case Studies in Practice,” which featured Kobby Okum, a financial advisor at Edward Jones; Lindsey Woodward, co-chief investment officer at RIA Abacus Wealth Partners; and Leslie Yambao Tabor, director of business consulting and education at Charles Schwab’s Schwab Advisor Services. The panel was a follow-up to a paper the CFP Board published in May that highlighted the three firms as “case studies” in creating a specific form of programming to improve diversity, equity and inclusion in a wealth management practice. 

Several firms at the event, including lead sponsor Merrill Wealth Management and other sponsors Morgan Stanley and Edward Jones, have faced litigation in recent years from former advisors alleging they experienced discrimination. However, with their presence at the summit, those firms attempted to convey their commitments to improving talent practices. 

READ MORE: CFP Board Diversity Summit in 2023 strikes notes of defiance, hope

Below are several tips shared by experts and industry leaders at the event, as well as the CFP Board’s May paper, on how leaders can not only hire diverse talent but also keep it.  


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