Minority and ethnic financial advisor candidates fared better among Millionaires selecting from individual photos rather than a group portrait.
Do snap judgments impact how individuals choose a financial advisor? What cultural implications do these snap judgments have?
In a recent wealth level study of Millionaire investors conducted by Spectrem’s Millionaire Corner, respondents were shown both a group photo and individual photos and asked which of these individuals they would choose to be their financial advisor. In both cases, respondents were more likely to select an older-looking white male (35 percent of those choosing from a group photo and 36 percent choosing from individual pictures).
But whereas those selecting from the group photo were next most likely to pick a younger looking man depicted in the photo dressed business casual, those selecting from individual photos were next most likely to select a younger white woman (Advisor #2) and one who appears to be older (Advisor #3).
Minority and ethnic candidates also fared better among Millionaires selecting from individual photos. Ten percent of Millionaires selected an individual photo of a young African-American woman (Advisor 4) to be their financial advisor, while nine percent selected an Asian gentleman (Advisor #9). Eight percent said they would select an older African-American male (Advisor #5). Faring worst (6 percent) was a young-looking white male (Advisor #3).
Among the candidates in the group photo, only 2 percent of Millionaires selected two young African-Americans.
Millionaires are more deliberative when it comes to the qualities they prize when selecting a financial advisor. More than nine-in-ten seek a financial advisor who has established trust, provides transparency, and has a good investment track record. If you are searching for a new financial advisor, Millionaire Corner’s Best Financial Advisor service can help.
The relatively better showing by women among the individual candidates represents a cultural trend. Women now comprise more than one-third of the industry (36 percent), up from 6 percent a decade ago. This is projected to grow significantly with the increasing prevalence of women investors as well as those who are taking on the role of their family's chief financial officer. They may be more interested in working with a female advisor. Conversely, several studies find entrenched cultural attitudes among male investors who prefer a man manage their money.
Cultural and demographic changes are compelling the financial services industry to make efforts to recruit not just more women, but also minority and ethnic candidates. Last spring, New York Life announced it would be hiring 17,500 women, minority and ethnic individuals. “Having a truly diversified work force has become that much more important today …given the rapid changes in demographics and the evident influence, both political as well as financial, that many minorities (women included) now wield,” Jane Conti, vice president of cultural markets at the firm, said in a statement.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.