Women and Minorities Run Just 2% of the Professionally Managed Money in the U.S. Allan Boomer Is Working to Change That.
Industry Advocate of the Year Nominee Allan Boomer’s firm Momentum Advisors has grown 1,500% in the past ten years, but giving back is still priority number one.
In the run-up to the inaugural RIA Intel Awards in September, RIA Intel will publish Q&As and other short features highlighting the accomplishments of this year’s nominees and Rising Stars.
The great-grandson of an enslaved person, Allan Boomer has made it his mission to educate communities ignored by the financial services industry and to provide opportunities for the women and minorities who have historically faced significant barriers to entry on Wall Street. We spoke to him about his career and his efforts to change that disparity. Responses have been edited for length and clarity.
What motivated you to switch gears and found Momentum Advisors?
I’ve worked in the industry since ’95, but it wasn’t until 2010 that I learned that financial advisories weren’t fiduciaries. I was sitting at my desk at Goldman Sachs, Wall Street was becoming a curse word, and I was watching Lloyd Blankfein testify before Congress when Maxine Waters asked, “Didn’t you have a fiduciary responsibility to act in the best of interest of your clients?” [Blankfein] said “No,” and I quit that same month.
Eight of the nine members of your team at Momentum Advisors are Black. What influenced the composition of your firm?
There is a lot of talent that gets overlooked on Wall Street. Talent is evenly distributed across race and gender, and yet Wall Street is dominated by white men. I didn’t set out to build a diverse firm, but rather a great firm, and these are the folks that I set out to build it with.
You’re being nominated for your advocacy work within the industry. Can you tell us about your advocacy efforts?
I carry the flag of an RIA business owner and do a lot to raise awareness within our industry. I write for Financial Planning magazine, and I write to disrupt. Seventy trillion dollars are professionally managed in this country, but just two percent by women or minorities. These firms do just as well or better than their counterparts, but we inadvertently screen out Black-owned and women-owned firms, when finding diverse managers will help clients out a ton.
What are the biggest challenges within the industry right now and what can be done?
The biggest challenge in our industry is raising awareness to the notion of what makes us different. We have a problem if the average age of an advisor is in his fifties and there are not enough younger folks to take the reins. We all sound and look alike, but we can learn something from people who look different from the prototypical advisor. Women, millennials, and minorities are underserved by the wealth management industry.
The inaugural RIA Intel Awards is a celebration of financial advisors, wealth management firms, and industry leaders. Winners will be on announced on RIAIntel.com September 14, 2022 and will be honored in-person at upcoming RIA Institute Forums.
Benjamin Lev is a freelancer at RIA Intel and based in New York City.