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Warrior, DEI, and 401k advisors

Warrior, DEI, and 401k advisors

| May 15, 2024

I am thoroughly enjoying the three seasons of Warrior on Netflix. The show, set in 1870s San Francisco, looks at the Chinese gang wars (Tong wars) and the social dynamics of that time. The plots, acting, scripts, costumes (!), and sets are stunning. The fight scenes are well-choreographed and legendary. I am binging this series without any regard to my old standbys - NCIS, Blue Bloods, and CSI Vegas.

Warrior was first envisioned by the late Bruce Lee. His daughter, an executive producer on Warrior, found eight pages of Bruce's writings wherein he outlined the premise of this show. His vision never saw the light of day as back then, no studio was willing to spend money on a television show with an Asian male lead actor.

Warrior features numerous Asian actors. Even the minor characters are well-written and acted. Warrior was filmed in Cape Town, South Africa, and I could not help but feel they must have emptied the entire Chinatown just to get all the extras.

Reflecting on Warrior, I could not help but think about diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts and how the 401k industry would like to attract more minority advisors to the fold. The case for DEI is evident. Corporations identified as diverse and inclusive are 35% more likely to outperform their competitors (McKinsey study), 70% more likely to capture new markets (Harvard Business Review study), and diverse teams are 87% better at making decisions (People Management survey).

And yet, I remember articles in 2010 talking the need for more minority financial advisors but here we are today. For example, only 1.8% of CFP holders are Black. 2.7% of CFP holders identify as Latino. A desire for DEI is not enough.

DEI efforts must start at the top. This needs to be an initiative actively pursued by senior leadership. Without that push, I do feel the efforts will be for naught.

Next, employees need to be truly valued for who they are and what they bring to the table. They should not be seen as a token member of a group.

And finally, there needs to be a compelling reason for people to want to join a financial practice. It is all well and good to wish for a more diverse industry but what is it that will compel minorities to want to join? In the case of the TV series, Warrior, the compelling drive is plain to see. The show is addicting to watch! The characters are believable. The show does not shy away from the tensions that existed at that time (and still exist today). It is a real chance of Asian actors to shine and shine they do!

Can we say the same for the financial services industry? The 401k practice arena? In the meantime, Warrior was canceled by Cinemax, picked up HBO Max, canceled a second time, and now is found on Netflix. There is a petition going around asking Netflix to fund the final season. Check out the show and if you agree with me, here is the petition (https://www.change.org/p/renew-warrior-tv-show-for-season-4-empowering-asian-representation-and-equality).

I will keep fighting for change. Please join me.