Canadian firms are pursuing similar avenues to change the face of the industry.
TD Canada Trust, for example – which was a recipient of Canada's Best Diversity Employers in 2013 – has diversity programming in place which spans across several pillars including visible minorities, aboriginal communities, woman in leadership and the disabled. Committees work at the executive level right through to the ground floor, according to Heather Richardson, branch manager and investment advisor at TD Wealth Brampton.
“I think from a social responsibility perspective that all large organizations should employ individuals that represent the community they serve,” says Richardson, who admits the stereotype of the white, middle-aged man serving retired clients prevails in the wealth management industry. “But, the reality is that, TD, for example, has made great strides to ensure the opportunities exist for women entering the industry, people from different ethnic backgrounds, people with disabilities have those same opportunities to enter the industry and have a career in the wealth management space.”
As a visible minority himself, is Leacock convinced?
"Are financial institutions doing enough right now to provide that opportunities for minorities? I don’t think they are, but I think they are starting to realize that they need to,” he says.
According to the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association in the U.S., presently 37 per cent of minorities make up the American population, while only eight per cent are represented in the workforce. Conversely, according the Statistics Canada, in 1996 just one in 10 Canadian workers were a part of a visible minority group, while by 2031 this is expected to reach one in three.