On Black leadership with Peter Quoie

Peter Quoie is a Private Client Advisor and Vice President with J.P. Morgan Wealth Management. He is also a member of the Black Leadership Forum, a program that promotes the recruitment, development and retention of Black leadership at JPMorgan Chase. He talked to us about the importance of hard work, financial planning and diversity within the financial services industry.

Peter, thank you for joining us! To get started, I’m curious to learn what drew you to working as an advisor?

That’s a great question. I was born in Liberia, West Africa. The country is not wealthy or developed, and my family moved to the United States to pursue a better life. I was always the one that was passionate about finances and ensuring we were properly in the right financial space to be able to live comfortably. So, I was the individual my family came to for all money-related questions. Making that impact with my personal family led me to pursue advising clients.

I started in the financial services industry in 2013 on the banking side while I was working full-time. When I graduated, I had the opportunity to pursue an advisor development program. I saw that as a great chance to take what I’ve been doing with my family and friends and help other individuals by making an impact on their life through advising them on how properly having a financial plan can set you up for a wonderful life going forward.

You said you started on the banking side in 2013. What did you do before finance?

I actually started working at the age of 14. I was working as a clerk at a grocery store and stayed there until I started college. Right when I started college was when I got into finance. I started as a bank teller and just slowly worked my way up. I always wanted to move up in the industry because I always knew that I could provide greater value by improving on my knowledge, experience and expertise. So I started off as a teller, moved up to a branch banker, did that for a couple of years, and then once I graduated college, that’s when I had the opportunity to transition to the wealth management side.

So, over the many stages of your career, what was the one piece of career advice that stuck with you?

The one piece of career advice that really stuck with me was to never let anyone dictate your knowledge and never let anyone dictate what you can achieve as a professional. That always stuck with me because I think that I always had to work harder than my other peers to essentially make a name of myself. I always knew that my hard work was going to pay off no matter what.

Coming to this country with my family, we’ve just been hard workers all our life. I was always taught that if you work hard and you put in the effort to exceed at what you do, it will always pay dividends down the road. That is something I always believed in: exceeding expectations, making sure that I’m going above and beyond to really make an impact in the workplace. And, you know, that’s also what helped me get those promotions over time. I definitely did have to work harder than my peers. But again, that’s something I was always used to. I was always taught that nothing is going to be given to you, so I was that individual who ensured I was working hard and everything was going to pay dividends down the road.

Can you talk a bit about what Black History Month means to you?

To me, Black History Month is a time when Black Americans across the United States can reflect and celebrate the achievements, contributions and courage displayed by our ancestors to provide a better life for us. It’s a time that truly represents unity across the Black community and a reminder that there is still more work that must be done to provide a more inclusive society.

I plan on celebrating Black History Month by supporting Black-owned businesses and getting more educated on Black history by watching documentaries all month long.

As an advisor who is a person of color, do you do feel like you’re able to help fill a gap that might have been within the advisor community prior to joining?

Yes, absolutely. I think that being an advisor – especially an advisor of color – I’m definitely in a position to help fill that gap. It all starts with education. A lot of minorities just automatically assumed that they are not able to have access to certain types of utilities because they don’t meet a certain net worth or a certain balance or threshold. But usually, that’s not the case. That’s why I’m always open talking to anyone.

It all starts with the educational piece. No matter how much you have in your account, that doesn’t mean that you’re not able to get a financial plan together to help take the right steps and get on the right track to accumulate wealth. I think it’s important for individuals like myself to get in this role because we understand what it takes to help other minorities put the right things in place to be able to accumulate wealth. And so I think I definitely had an impact in filling that gap.

No need to go into a great detail, but I was curious what kind of clients you work with?

I think that everyone deserves to listen to a financial advisor’s advice because everyone can benefit from hearing what they need to do to get their finances straight or what they need to implement to ensure that their retirement goals, or any goals, are met. So I talk to everyone – if you have $10,000 in your account all the way to $500,000. If I see that you may benefit from what I can help you with, I’ll absolutely have a conversation with you. I am always open to talking to anybody to ensure that I can provide that added value to helping them reach their goals.

Can you talk about some of the conversations you have with your clients? What are some of your clients’ concerns or what they’re looking to get out of the advisor relationship?

I would say it all starts with the educational piece. A lot of the times that I’ve helped set up an investment, clients needed help understanding what are investments, what is financial planning, what is retirement planning. My conversations are often about educating them on how this can help them build wealth over time. And not just build wealth, but also how to set up a college fund for their kids, how to figure out what is the proper amount to start putting into their 401(k) to make sure that it grows over time and that they can properly retire – just basic investment acumen.

Other times, I deal with old wealth. If parents have been investing over a long time, they can educate their kids, and their kids can educate their kids. So there’s a generation of knowledge and education.

I think that’s the big difference between some of my conversations. Some clients don’t fully understand what investing entails and they think they don’t have enough money to invest. I take pride in educating these individuals. I think it all starts with that. The knowledge that I can give them, they can then potentially provide that same knowledge to their kids, and their kids can provide that same knowledge down the line.

Education is definitely important. I’m sure your clients really appreciate that they are able to get that education from you. I know that you are part of the Black Leadership Forum, and I was wondering if you could explain why it is so important and crucial to develop and encourage Black leadership within the financial industry?

I think it’s very important to ensure – just from a diversity standpoint, from an equal opportunity standpoint – that everyone has access to great financial planning. Me being an advisor, me being a leader in my branches, I think it all starts with me. I know a lot of successful individuals that don’t take their knowledge, their experience or their skills and utilize that to help others, especially minorities. I think in order for change to happen, it has to be us – individuals like me and my peers who are professionals and have that sense of leadership – to be able to step up and help produce that change.

That was one of the reasons that led me to join the Black Leadership Forum. I really think I could make an impact. I can use my knowledge, my experience. There’s not a lot of diversity in our role altogether. So, I always tell some of my peers that we’re walking and living proof that we can achieve this kind of success. Other individuals can too, but it really starts from us coming to these leadership roles and really finding those opportunities to go help make a change and go help make an impact. That’s one of the reasons that I felt I needed to be a part of the Black Leadership Forum, to help our minority counterparts get up to speed.

Thank you so much for sharing your story. I always love to end each interview with a little bit of a lighter, more fun question. What is a hobby or interest of yours that people might not know about you?

I’m a huge football fan. A lot of people look at me and think I might not love football so much, but I played throughout my childhood and teenage years. I enjoy watching my favorite team, the Philadelphia Eagles, play every Sunday. I think that’s definitely an interest of mine that a lot of people don’t know, outside of my close friends.

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