Leading Financial Services Firms and Industry Resource Organizations Join Together to Increase Diversity and Equity
Coalition for Equity in Wholesaling to Focus on Education, Recruiting and Retention
December 2, 2021
NEW YORK, December 2, 2021 – In a joint effort to increase the number of diverse professionals in the role of insurance wholesaler, fifteen leading financial services firms along with several leading industry resource groups have teamed up to create the Coalition for Equity in Wholesaling (the Coalition). The Coalition’s initial focus is on the Black community, which will inform its work and serve as a blueprint as it scales a repeatable model that will ultimately be used to benefit all diverse communities.
Initial members of the Coalition, founded by Equitable, a leading financial services organization and principal franchise of Equitable Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: EQH), include: AIG, The Association for Wholesaling Diversity, Brighthouse Financial, CeriFi, CUNA Mutual Group, Eagle Life Insurance Company, Equitable, Finseca, Global Atlantic Financial Group, Guardian, Insured Retirement Institute, Jackson National Life Insurance Company, Kaplan, LIMRA, Lincoln Financial Group, NAIFA, Nationwide, Pacific Life, Principal, Protective, Prudential, Securian Financial, The American College for Financial Services, and Zahn Associates.
“Our industry has long been committed to fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion. However, we see that there is still progress to be made to build a workforce that reflects the makeup of our country and that provides the benefits of a career in financial services to all,” said Nick Lane, President of Equitable. “We believe it is critically important to bring our industry together to support the work of our Black colleagues, expand our existing networks and educate college students and young professionals about wholesaling as an attractive career if we are to successfully increase the diversity of our own company and our industry at large.”
A wholesaler works on behalf of a financial services company to build relationships and sell insurance and investment products and services to fellow financial professionals — insurance agents, investment advisory committees, or financial advisors. These professionals then bring appropriate strategies to their clients. Success is grounded in the partnerships built by understanding the needs of customers and their clients when recommending suitable strategies.
The Coalition will benefit from the knowledge of several resource partners, including the Association for Wholesaling Diversity (AWD), which has facilitated hiring, development, retention and career advancement for Black wholesalers across the financial services industry since 2016.
“AWD works tirelessly to educate Black students and professionals about choosing financial services wholesaling as a career, plus our members, all of the industry’s Black wholesalers, network, mentor, coach and support each other via this community we’ve built,” said Marlōn Hall, Founder/President of the Association for Wholesaling Diversity. “This partnership naturally scales these efforts up, while providing a roadmap for the Coalition’s broader attraction, retention and networking efforts.
As the Coalition’s first initiative, it has partnered with AWD to develop and offer a tuition-free Wholesaler Development Program (WDP). The program is intended to inform students about financial services wholesaling and equip them with the tools they need to become best-qualified candidates for those opportunities. The first group of students participated in the inaugural program in 2021, and we plan to significantly expand the number of participants by spring of 2022.
“We are excited to begin this effort by deeply focusing and rapidly accelerating our efforts within the Black community with the hope that we can create a repeatable model, which will ultimately be used to benefit all diverse communities,” Lane continued. “The Coalition will be able to achieve this by expanding beyond its initial focus on the Black community and inaugural Wholesaler Development Program class to build a lasting blueprint for continued elevation of diverse talent in the financial services industry.”
The Coalition has also commissioned original research to be conducted by the Insured Retirement Institute (IRI), a Coalition resource group, that will serve as a benchmark to measure the current makeup of the wholesaling workforce, including the current number of Black wholesalers. The research, expected to be completed in early 2022 and available by the spring, will inform the Coalition’s measurable outcomes and next steps to achieve them.
According to McKinsey & Company’s “Diversity wins: How inclusion matters” research, top quartile performers in ethnic and cultural diversity outperformed in terms of profitability. However, it also showed that even diverse companies still face challenges in ensuring that employees feel included, remain and thrive. This underscores the need to support recruitment with support and networking opportunities which the Coalition will develop and help member firms to activate within their own companies.
The Coalition aims to increase knowledge of wholesaling as a rewarding career path and help diverse professionals network and advance in their careers. Members commit to fulfilling the Coalition’s mission of increasing the ranks of diverse wholesalers by fostering awareness and providing education and networking opportunities to attract talent into wholesaling, retain that talent through advancement and create networking opportunities for current and prospective wholesalers. The lessons learned by the Coalition in its early work will then be applied to help increase opportunities in the profession for all underrepresented groups.
More information about the Coalition for Equity in Wholesaling can be found at equityinwholesaling.com.
Equitable, a principal franchise of Equitable Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: EQH), has been one of America’s leading financial services providers since 1859. With the mission to help clients secure their financial well-being, Equitable provides advice, protection and retirement strategies to individuals, families and small businesses. Equitable has more than 8,000 employees and Equitable Advisors financial professionals and serves 2.8 million clients across the country. Please visit equitable.com for more information. “Equitable” refers exclusively to Equitable Financial Life Insurance Company (NY, NY). Equitable Advisors is the brand name of Equitable Advisors, LLC (Equitable Financial Advisors in MI and TN).