In this question and answer, Heather Richardson, a branch manager and investment advisor with TD Waterhouse in Brampton, Ont., tells Wealth Professional how the bank’s embrace of diversity has been a boon for business, and why the LGBT community doesn’t necessarily need to be served by LGBT advisors.
TD was one of the first the Canadian banks to reach out to the LGBT community. Why?
Ultimately, we’ve had a diversity strategy in place for a number of years and the LGBT area of focus is just one part of that strategy. At the end of the day, TD is focused on building an inclusive barrier-free environment where every employee and customer is valued, respected and supported regardless of sexual orientation, gender, race, religion or disability.
Statistically LGBT couples – particularly dual male partners – tend to be more likely to be among the mass-affluent segment. Was there a business aspect to the decision?
That’s a fair question. It would be naïve of me to sit here and say that there isn’t a business strategy. At the end of the day, we are a large financial institution, but this does go beyond the scope of being a good business decision –we believe our responsibilities extend beyond creating value for shareholders, customers and employees to creating a more inclusive and productive society as well.
In wealth management many of the clientele of advisors tend to be older couples and many advisors tend to be older males. This is a group that isn’t necessarily known for having liberal attitudes toward LGBT issues, and advisors have noted that LGBT clients tend to look for advisors within their own community. Is this something TD has considered?
That’s a fair question and it is true that when you look at the stereotype of the wealth-management industry one of the first stereotypes that comes to mind is of an advisor in his 50s who works with retirees. And that’s fair.
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