What Diversity and Inclusion in Wealth Management Looks Like at Genus — And How it Has Made Us Stronger

headshot images with the writing "Strength" in orange and "in diversity" in white

When the diversity and inclusion movement intensified last year, we at Genus registered to participate in the inaugural RIA D&I Week, a diversity and inclusion conference for wealth management and investment professionals, to keep ourselves informed and up-to-date on the latest best practices within our industry.

As we engaged in various workshops on the importance and value of diversity in the workplace — and particularly in the financial sector, where diverse groups haven’t traditionally been well represented — we felt the kind of pride that comes with knowing we’ve been on the right track since our beginnings over 30 years ago.

Back then, Genus was founded by a diverse duo of investment professionals — Wayne Wachell and Leslie Cliff — diverse both in terms of gender and ethnic background.

Since then, the diversity and inclusion in our asset management company has grown and evolved along with the firm. But it has always remained a strong and important part of our foundation and our stats today reflect these values. “It’s been kind of organic,” says Stephen Au, chief operating officer at Genus. “We always try to employ the best people to do the job, and those people happen to be from diverse backgrounds. That’s just who we are.”

I think one of the reasons we got a high B Corp score is because of our diversity. It comes from the top, and the firm mirrors that. It’s just what you should be doing

Strength in diversity ​

Many studies (several of which are summarized in this article on why diversity and inclusion are important for investment analysis) have shown that diversity brings strength to companies in the form of new ideas, broader perspectives, and innovative approaches to challenges and crises.

At Genus, we know first-hand that this is the case. “At the executive level, many diverse people have a voice,” Au says. “Sure, there’s a lot of disagreements, but diverse backgrounds bring different lenses to the issues. We all bring different assets to the team.”

I’ve never felt anything other than empowered here.

Sue-May Talbot, Portfolio Manager, Genus Tweet

Sue-May Talbot was the first employee hired at Genus, and testifies to the diversity and inclusion in our wealth management firm, and the opportunities she’s had to add her voice to company discussions and debates over the years. “I’m on the executive team and on all sorts of different committees,” she says. “I have a voice in a lot of different areas and I know that my voice is heard.”

After 30 years at Genus, which started at the reception desk, Talbot is grateful for the mentoring and encouragement she has received. “I made the coffee, I was the receptionist, I settled trades and I did the bookkeeping,” she says. “So I was in a good position, being exposed to all these different jobs, to pick and choose which ones I wanted to pursue. Leslie and Wayne supported me no matter what and I was lucky to be able to benefit from that. And that is a huge reason why I continue to be at Genus.”

Au says Wachell and the investment team also benefit from a broad range of experience levels in addition to various cultural and gender lenses. “We have a good mix of veterans and young people,” he says. “New recruits come in with advanced technology skill sets and if you meld that with experience, you get a great functional team.”

Investing with a firm that values diversity and inclusion is not only a good match for your values — it’s also good for your investments! Get in touch to find out more about how we apply diversity principles to your investment portfolio.

white background image with a orange and blue chart: Genus by the numbers: total staff: 38; (first chart) shareholders 11: 29%; (second chart) female 18: 47%; (third chart) male 20: 53%; (fourth chart) BIPO 22: 58%
white background image with blue and yellow chart: SHAREHOLDERS 16 -(first chart) Female 7: collected own 55% of Genus: 44%; (second chart) Male 9: collected own 45% of Genus: 56%; (thirsd chart) BIPO 6: collected own 45% of Genus: 38%
white background with blue and orange chart: Female 2: 40%; Male 3: 60%; BIPO 2: 40%
white background image with ligh blue and dark blue: (first chart) Female 6: 67%; (second chart) Male 3: 33%; (thirsd chart) BIPOC 5: 56%
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Client impact

“Graduating from a big bank to Genus was one of the best financial steps we've ever taken. Genus has delivered reliable asset growth despite our moderate risk tolerance. As our financial security has grown, we've also been the beneficiaries of a great client experience. The company's communications have been consistently transparent and informative, including educational webinars and a well-designed web portal where we can track investments daily. Most importantly to us, our portfolio manager has always responded swiftly and thoroughly to our questions and requests. ”
Martin T.
"Having relatively diverse financial goals and needs, along with a slight reticence regarding the stock market, Genus skillfully addressed all of our concerns, and put together a truly exceptional plan: Fossil free funds and a diversified investment portfolio, check; An effective Impact investment portfolio that coincides with our hopes and dreams for a better world, check; Professional advice and assistance to create a donor advised charitable fund with immediate charitable receipts for tax purposes, check. Returns? Way beyond our expectations! We even had some fun along the way and certainly enjoyed an incredible two-year start to what will be a satisfying long-term relationship with Genus."
Marc B.
“I love the service I get at Genus.”
Chris H.
“Leslie and I were fellow board members when we met twenty years ago. For the last ten she has been thoughtful in the construction of an investment strategy for my family and is executing the strategy as planned. The team at Genus has met my expectations and are a pleasure to deal with.”
Bob Q.
“For over 15 years, I have provided selection and performance evaluation of multiple investment managers for a significant family office. Leslie and Genus have been foundational for me in my role. I have always found Leslie and her colleagues to be insightful and proactive, and found the performance of their portion of the portfolio to be well above benchmarks. And they have been a great pleasure to work with.”
Douglas H.
“Genus is a very innovative firm. I am pleased to invest in their Fossil Free and Impact strategies that help me invest in line with my values.”
Marnie C.
“Great team of professionals. Excellent website and reporting. Responds to inquiries promptly. Very pleased with the process of changing from another company to Genus as well. Kudos.”
David L.
“Genus consistently provides a good, clearly explained, comprehensive picture of the general economic and financial situation, along with an excellent account of the investment decisions made in relation to this. Genus’ equally strong concern with clients’ questions and requests for further information is also a very important part of the service it provides.”
Allan S.
“Back in 1992 when I found myself at fifty with a substantial amount of money to invest, I knew just one thing — that I didn’t want to contribute to tobacco companies, arms manufacturers, or oil. But over the ensuing years the options for socially responsible investing have become far more sophisticated and I’m very happy that this is a big part of the Genus approach. I also very much appreciate the long-term relationship with my portfolio manager, Mary Lou.”
Ann P.

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