How Diversity Drives Our Success and Leads Us into the Future

Tiffany Lessler

How Diversity Drives Our Success and Leads Us into the Future image

When attending Schwab IMPACT, an annual conference for independent investment advisors, Summitry team members often meet interested students and job candidates who invariably ask about employee diversity within our firm.

It’s easy to say we’re diverse, but we’ve never really taken a hard look at our own data.

Well, we took a deep dive into the data and–good news–the results are impressive.

First the comparison–and this should come as no surprise, employees in the financial services industry at large are mostly white–a whopping 84%, and male–nearly 62%. There is not much diversity in those numbers.

Summitry has a very different look. Across our firm, women and men are equally divided. In addition, 53% of our employees speak a second language with 11 different languages represented, and 50% have advanced professional designations. Our teammates live in communities that stretch Bay Area-wide from San Francisco to San Jose and the East Bay.

Diverse culture

Why does diversity matter?

Three very important reasons:

I. Diversity allows us to take better care of our clients. Care is one of our core values and our clients often have very specific needs and preferences, whether it is language, location, gender, or specific financial expertise. Our firm’s diversity enables us to meet these varying client needs.

Case in point, according to this Forbes article, many women prefer working with a female advisor, but nationwide, only 16% of financial advisors are female.

Not at an issue for Summitry — 42% of our financial advisory team are women! In sharing similar backgrounds and experiences with our clients, we have insights into and an understanding of their individual needs and motivations. Our diversity enables Summitry to better care for our clients and effectively address their unique family and financial needs.

II. Diversity amplifies our creativity and innovation in service to clients. Growth is another core value and our diverse talent pool means we bring to the table different perspectives, experiences, and opinions to take on any challenge. Our wealth of ideas and resources make us effective collaborators and innovative problem solvers.

Diversity delivers. McKinsey’s research shows that gender-diverse companies are 15% more likely to outperform companies lacking diversity, while ethnically-diverse companies are 35% more likely to beat the competition.

Summitry leads the way: Our firm features an industry-leading equal blend of men and women representing a wide variety of racial/ethnic groups. When we challenge each other with new ideas and points of view, the creative juices flow and unique solutions follow. Diversity helps each of us to grow and we see the fruits of that collective growth in advances in our technology, processes, and offerings across the firm.

III. Diversity attracts the very best talent.  Drive is another core value and as our diversity continues to attract the best and brightest to our firm, inspired by the unique Summitry vision and with the talent and drive to grow, these individuals will help shape our future to better serve our clients.

McKinsey research also suggests that more diverse companies are better able to win top talent and improve their customer orientation, employee satisfaction, and decision making, and all that leads to a virtuous cycle of increasing returns. Having a more diverse global mindset and cultural fluency will give firms a competitive advantage that will also attract and retain such diverse talent.

While some firms are just now waking up to the limits of their obsolete methods of hiring, our emphasis on employee diversity is fundamental to how we operate and how we will continue to grow. As a firm we are proud of our rich heritage of diversity. The Bay Area is a dynamic and diverse landscape and we are proud that Summitry embodies this. The diversity of our employees makes us strong; it’s the engine that drives our success today and it will lead us into the future.

To learn more about our diverse culture, please contact us.

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Saad Bajwa

Financial Planning Associate