New Network for Underrepresented Financial Advisors to Launch in January

New Network for Underrepresented Financial Advisors to Launch in January

When African-American financial advisors Dasarte Yarnway and Emlen Miles-Mattingly launched their RIAs in 2016 and 2017, respectively, neither felt like he had a community of similar advisors to network with or bounce ideas off.

That changed after they both replied to an Instagram post and started communicating with one another outside the social-media platform, exchanging ideas about their respective practices and the challenges they faced. That community of two sparked the idea for the Onyx Advisor Network, which the two advisors plan to formally launch next month.“It’s so important to have a community where underrepresented advisors can find others who have successful practices,” says Miles-Mattingly, founder of Gen Next Wealth, a fee-only independent advisory firm in Madera, Calif.

The goal is to create a place where “you’ll feel less like an anomaly and more as you belong,” says Yarnway, founder of Berknell Financial Group in San Francisco. 

The financial services industry has long suffered from a lack of diversity, though that’s improving, if gradually. For instance, the number of female CFPs rose to an all-time high of 20,633 as of Dec. 31, 2020, a figure that represents 23.3% of all CFP professionals, according to data released by the Certified Financial Planner Board in January. There were 3,688 Black and Hispanic CFP professionals. Those two groups combined grew at a faster rate than all CFP holders, but they still represented less than 5% of all CFPs. 

“For so long, these folks have not been included at the table,” Yarnway says. That’s what Onyx’s founders say they’re trying to provide—a place where underrepresented advisors can work together for their collective good. “You belong here. You can be yourself here,” he says.

Some aspects of the platform, including the pricing structure, are still being developed. But the idea behind Onyx is to provide advisors who are people of color, women, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and other marginalized groups a community that offers access to compliance solutions, custodians, coaching, and other technology resources. The services would be offered at a discounted subscription cost.

The network, which is set to debut in January, initially for about two dozen advisors, will cater to practices of all sizes—whether advisors are just starting out or trying to scale an existing business. Yarnway says the goal is to attract more than 100 members by the end of 2022. 

The monthly membership fee will include a bundled technology stack to help minority advisors run their practices. Onyx has tapped Vanguard to provide an investment management solution, and network advisors will have an option to purchase additional technology at a discount from Altruist, MessageWatcher, Envestnet|MoneyGuide, RightCapital, Synergy RIA Compliance Solutions, and Wealthbox, according to a news release. 

Members will also be offered a discounted rate to attend the annual Onyx Advisor Conference.

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