LPL advisors to launch LGBTQ network with No. 1 IBD’s support
Thanks in part to an OSJ move, two advisors plan to build a much-needed network for LGBTQ advisors and their allies.
Laura LaTourette and Marci Bair formed what they call an LGBTQ advocacy “dream team” after LaTourette switched her office of supervisory jurisdiction under LPL Financial from Integrated Financial Group to The Wealth Consulting Group.
They’ll start by serving on one of LPL’s so-called business communities for diverse groups, but they plan to open the network to all of the firm’s 16,000 advisors — and those working at other companies as well.
LGBTQ advisors “want and need and crave a network of camaraderie and support,” Bair says, calling on any interested parties to reach out to her or LaTourette directly. They noted an outpouring of interest and supportive pledges from top LPL executives like CEO Dan Arnold at the company's annual Focus conference last week.
The newly rebranded practice — LaTourette’s Dahlonega, Georgia-based Family Wealth Management Group — and Bair Financial Planning in San Diego represent two of the 29 offices of Jimmy Lee’s WCG, which has $1.6 billion in AUM and 165 employees across the OSJ.
LaTourette, who, like Bair, is a lesbian, says she’s passionate about not only serving the needs of LGBTQ elders but “normalizing the conversation” about them. The advisors also want to set up avenues for LGBTQ advisors to meet each other and educate allies about their community.
Integrated Financial wasn’t a fit for LaTourette because it wasn’t as supportive of her as an LGBTQ advisor, she says. Regardless of career advancement or whether they have come out, LGBTQ advisors often face apathy or even outright discrimination, she and Bair say.
“I was looking for an OSJ that would support me as a whole person,” LaTourette says. “I'm going to join this great group and we're going to pull it together from East Coast and West Coast.”
LGBTQ advisors often have to grapple with whether to discuss their sexual orientation with their broker-dealers, OSJs or clients — and the potential for backlash. Bair and LaTourette hope the network can help provide role models as advisors embark on their own complex personal journeys.
“They can at least join this network and know that they're not the only LGBT advisor,” Bair says. “If you just live in your truth and you're authentic, good things come to you. You'll be praised even more.”
Co-CEO Land Bridgers of Integrated Financial — an Atlanta-based OSJ with 87 advisors and $4.1 billion in client assets — emailed a statement on LaTourette’s departure.
“We are grateful for our time with Laura at IFG and we wish her great success in her future endeavors,” Bridgers said.
LaTourette had been affiliated with Integrated Financial for five years out of her 16 with LPL, according to FINRA BrokerCheck. The new name of her practice reflects the fact that her daughter, a former trader, and her son, a Navy submariner, will both eventually join the practice, which has $45 million in client assets.
She also expects to hire another advisor next year, LaTourette says. Both advisors hope heterosexual allies join the as-yet-informal organization because there aren’t enough LGBTQ advisors to serve the entire community, Bair says. Representatives for LPL declined to say if the company has figures on the total number of LGBTQ advisors or whether it’s compiling them.
Bair and LaTourette led breakout presentations at LPL's Focus conference last week. The advisors rave about the repeated and strong offers of any help from the executive level by CEO Dan Arnold and Chairman Jim Putnam. They also estimate that around 400 people attended the diversity and inclusion reception, up from roughly 50 last year.
LPL's advisor business communities meet at least once a year with senior executives to discuss how to boost diversity and expand services to clients of all backgrounds. The No. 1 IBD will launch the LGBTQ committee formally in coming months.
“Advisors have shared with us how important relationships and networks are to their business success,” Kathleen Zemaitis, senior vice president for advisor diversity and inclusion, said in a statement. She added that having the committees “creates a more meaningful and powerful experience at LPL, and provides a place where advisors can share, learn and grow together.”
The firm also praised WCG as a “strong advocate for inclusion” within the Las Vegas-based OSJ and throughout LPL’s advisor force. LPL’s marketing materials for specific diverse communities, research papers and other resources also make a difference, LaTourette says.
“LPL has built the support for us,” she says. “We've just come together with the enthusiasm to say, ‘Let's take it to another level too.'”
She and Bair will leverage events and social media platforms for the group, which doesn’t yet have a name. Some 50 LPL advisors have expressed interest; Bair predicts the number will triple as word spreads.
“We don’t want to just be tolerated,” Bair says. “We want to be celebrated.”