Promising Practice RIA Talent Advantage TM – Women’s Program


Charles Schwab & Corporation, Inc.
Industry: Investment Banking and Securities

Principle V: Business, Supply Chain, and Marketing Practices

2014 Challenge Submission

“At Schwab, we believe investing done well has the power to build a strong financial future for people of all ages and all walks of life.” Walt Bettinger, President & Chief Executive Officer.

Schwab continues to advance gender equality efforts for its employees as well as for the more than 7,000 independent registered investment advisors (RIAs) served through Schwab Advisor Services. The company has committed to developing an internal pipeline of women into the industry through the well-established “Day in the Life” program. For this year’s GEP Challenge, Schwab would like to highlight its new RIA Talent Advantage™ – Women’s Program, developed in response to changing demographics in the marketplace as well as a result of client demand.

As the largest custodian of RIA assets, Schwab is committed to supporting and sustaining the RIA profession. Part of its advocacy efforts includes raising awareness of industry issues that impact advisors and their firms.

A key current issue is the changing investor demographic and the opportunity it presents for RIAs. Schwab has worked with advisors over the last several years to help them understand and respond to this opportunity by helping them create inclusive cultures in their firms that can ultimately better position them for continued success. The RIA Talent Advantage™ program is designed to help firms more effectively attract, promote and retain diverse talent at their firms. Focusing on the need for greater industry-wide diversity among RIAs, the multi-faceted program will help advisors understand the value of creating a diverse workforce and help them take action toward accomplishing it. Through the program, Schwab is focusing on enabling firms to advance in three key areas: Building an inclusive culture; cultivating internal talent; and identifying and attracting new perspectives. As a central part of the program, Schwab launched the RIA Talent Advantage™ community, a LinkedIn group where firms and individuals can connect with peers and industry leaders, share best-practices, develop skills and recruit diverse talent.

The RIA Talent Advantage™ program will focus on three important groups of advisor talent segments: Generation Now (people between the ages of 30-45), Ethnicity, and Gender-Women. The first phase of the program will focus on helping advisors better serve the female investor through the recruitment of more female talent. It is intended to help advisors create an inclusive culture, develop women and men currently in the industry, and make the RIA industry, as a whole, a destination of choice for women advisors and investors.

To date, women have been underrepresented in the RIA industry. Nearly half of advisors surveyed by Schwab reported having no female advisors in their firms. Women represent just 30 percent of financial advisers of all types and 23 percent of certified financial planner certificants— the latter is a number that has been virtually unchanged for 10 years.

How does this model practice work?

Among the goals of the RIA Talent Advantage – Women’s Program is to increase the number of women in the industry by promoting:

Among the goals of the RIA Talent Advantage – Women’s Program is to increase the number of women in the industry by promoting:

A culture of inclusion: Provide insights, tools, and resources that help RIA leaders understand the business opportunity through an RIA Talent Study, female investor business cases, and educational sessions that were presented at Schwab’s 2014 IMPACT conference, the nation’s largest annual event for the RIA industry.

Talent Development: Creating curricula, events, and resources to help develop employees, specifically focused on

• Women as they build successful careers. Examples include:

o 2014 IMPACT pre-conference session on Executive Presence presented by Sylvia Ann Hewlett.
o Executive Presence webcast, which broke Schwab registration records.
o Regional events led by Schwab Relationship Managers focused on bringing women together through round table discussions.

• Helping men and women work with female investors and create inclusive advisor behaviors.

o At IMPACT, Andrea Turner Moffitt from the Center for Talent Innovation presented an ed session titled “Trillions in Investable Assets: Do You Understand How to Reach Out to Women Investors?”
o Schwab will create a training program in 2015

Raising Awareness: Presenting the RIA model as a “career of choice” for women and thus increasing the number of women who are interested in the career.

The RIA Talent Advantage LinkedIn Community: To harness the passion of men as well as women and inspire them to take action, the online community will provide a place for advocates of women to share, network and act in their local markets. Schwab will create and share content, and advisors will be encouraged to leverage the content locally.

“There is more at stake for creating a diverse workforce than simply balancing the scale towards equality. It’s a strategic move that can help businesses better serve their clients and capture a share of potential opportunities on the horizon. The benefits of achieving a more diverse workforce are also more than hypothetical. They can be seen in the results. For example:

• Firms with female executives generate better financial results1.
• Affluent women are key growth drivers for RIAs."

Neesha Hathi, Senior Vice President, Advisor Services

How can I adopt this model practice in my workplace?

This is an exciting approach that needs more time to take effect before replication is possible. Schwab plans to collect the following benchmark measurements to track effectiveness:

• Number of women in the RIA industry
• Number of women in client-facing and leadership positions

In addition to connecting with other advisors and industry supporters via the LinkedIn community, Schwab will also be providing tangible, actionable insights and solutions through a forthcoming Advisor Action Plan series, containing specific steps advisors can take to attract and retain female talent and better serve female investors. Schwab will also provide access to additional intelligence and research, including the RIA Talent Study and Infographic Series, which highlight a growing body of research illustrating the need to increase workforce diversity.

Source: 1. Catalyst study: The Bottom Line: Corporate Performance and Women’s Representation on Boards

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