Morgan Stanley sponsors a multicultural forum in commitment to diversity and inclusion.
Los Angeles is a thriving melting pot of cultures and a major wealth management market for Morgan Stanley. The firm is strengthening its ties with the City of Angels’ diverse business community and promoting inclusion through its sponsorship of the LA Times Multicultural Business Forum.
Morgan Stanley is the presenting sponsor of the 2017 Forum, which consists of six business events targeting specific multicultural groups within Los Angeles. Milton Dellossier, Associate Regional Diversity Officer, says that the firm viewed the sponsorship as a chance to better connect with the communities it serves and demonstrate its commitment to diversity. The sponsorship grew after a Morgan Stanley FA had a positive experience as a panelist at a 2016 Forum event.
“When we looked at how [the LA Times] lined up with our diversity and multicultural approach, we saw this as something innovative and new,’’ says Dellossier, who has acted as coordinator of the firm’s sponsorship efforts.
Each of the forums has specific programming designed for African-American, Women, Asian, Latino and LGBT business owners, and offers Morgan Stanley FAs the opportunity to invite clients for targeted business development programs and helps to expand local wealth management recruiting efforts.
2017 Business Forum Schedule
“We want to support a larger message of diversity and inclusion of the Morgan Stanley brand in the LA marketplace,’’ says John McAuliffe, an Associate Complex Manager based in Woodland Hills. He staffed the Morgan Stanley booth at separate events geared to women and the Latino community.
McAuliffe says that participation in the Multicultural Business Forum is just one of many ways Morgan Stanley supports diversity in the Los Angeles area. The Forum events are an opportunity to showcase Morgan Stanley’s wealth management talent and complement messages of diversity and inclusion that are emphasized in recruiting messages and at other local and regional events.
Research by Morgan Stanley and others has found that more diverse companies perform better. One of the firm’s priorities in promoting diversity is to develop a talent base that is culturally reflective of its customer base. That was one of the points communicated by Morgan Stanley‘s Mandell Crawley, who delivered a keynote address in February to more than 200 participants at the African-American event that kicked off the 2017 Forum schedule. Crawley, then Chief Marketing Officer of Morgan Stanley, is now the Head of Private Wealth Management.
“At Morgan Stanley, we want to lead with exceptional ideas,” says Crawley, “and having a diversity of thought, a diversity of perspectives across different cultures, supports that.’’
Crawley explained how capital creates opportunity in communities like Los Angeles and outlined how the firm wants to be the employer of choice across cultures and to inspire participants by sharing his essential principles for success.
Joe Cervantes, a Global Sports & Entertainment Director who participated on a small business panel at the first Latino forum in May, agrees that having a similar cultural background does make a difference in reaching these clients, but he says demonstrating strong relationship and financial planning skills is equally important.
“Some of the multicultural communities we serve tend to have more of a comfort level with a bank than an advisory firm like Morgan Stanley,” says Cervantes, who estimates Latino clients make up 15 percent to 20 percent of his book. “It’s a long-term process to reach these clients, maybe what we do here resonates with some small business owners.”
Sponsoring the Forum has also helped position Morgan Stanley as a thought leader in helping clients from minority backgrounds position their wealth and business for success. Bringing together accomplished entrepreneurs across industries as well as attorneys and other small business professionals has provided valuable networking opportunities for the firm’s clients.
Crawley alluded to the Forum as a powerful illustration of how Morgan Stanley strives to lead with exceptional ideas that arise from a diversity of perspectives across different cultures. It’s something he would like to replicate across the country.
The first four events of 2017 have each drawn more than 200 participants to different venues around downtown Los Angeles.
“It’s a golden opportunity that we jumped on,’’ says McAuliffe. “I know that we have benefitted from it as a firm and I hope the larger community of Los Angeles has also benefited.”
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