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imageAn overwhelming majority of Hispanic and African-Americans say that financial services firms need to hire more diverse staffs, according to a survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Edward Jones.

The Hispanic and African-American populations represent 17% and 13% of the total population respectfully, yet each is represented in less than 5% of the Financial Advisor population.

“Improving recruitment efforts is part of the solution, but retaining minority talent is equally important”, said Jesse Abercrombie, a financial advisor at Edward Jones in Dallas-Fort Worth.

Simply having more minority role models among the advisors can help retain talent.

“If a minority financial advisor sees several other successful minority financial advisors, then they’ll feel a lot more comfortable in their own future,” he said.

In addition to having visible role models, firms also need mentorship programs, Abercrombie said. He volunteers as a regional leader for Dallas-Fort Worth in a mentorship program at Edward Jones called BRIDGE (Bringing Results through Inclusion-Driven and Guided Efforts). Abercrombie said that the program works on raising cross-cultural awareness, provides mentoring to new advisors and program members participate in recruitment events.