The two organizations will partner with FSI member firms to create mentorship opportunities and career pathways for young people in underserved communities.

The Financial Services Institute (FSI), the advocacy organization for the independent financial services industry, has announced a strategic partnership with INROADS, a nonprofit organization devoted to advancing the professional success of young people from ethnically diverse backgrounds living in underserved communities.

FSI President and CEO Dale Brown announced the partnership at a conference event in Dallas, where he was joined by INROADS President and CEO Forest T. Harper Jr. The two say the alliance between FSI and INROADS is in keeping with FSI’s ongoing diversity and inclusion initiative, an effort aimed at increasing industry representation among women and people of color. They say providing opportunities for FSI members to collaborate with other organizations is an integral part of the initiative.

“As the advocacy organization for the independent financial services industry, FSI is uniquely positioned to help address the underrepresentation of women and people of color within our space,” Brown says. “With this goal in mind, I look forward to teaming with our partners at INROADS to build the next generation of independent financial advisers and to increase diversity among the ranks of financial services executives.”

Through the partnership, INROADS will work closely with FSI member firms and sponsors to build a road map that reflects their specific diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) goals—as well as their unique challenges and opportunities. As part of that, INROADS will look to create mentorship opportunities that will further the professional development of high school and college students and help to foster more diverse and inclusive work environments.

According to Brown and Harper, this hands-on, holistic approach allows for coordination with a firm’s existing DE&I programs and acknowledges that one-size-fits-all solutions do not adequately address each firm’s needs.

“INROADS has a deep commitment to preparing students for success in the financial services industry,” Harper adds. “Together, we will increase the presence, readiness and visibility of financial advisers of color.”

“The issues before us will not be easy to solve, but in the months and years to come, we will work to ensure not only that the industry works better for everyone, but that it is more reflective of society,” Brown says. “This mission is crucial to ensuring every investor is able to save for retirement and reach their financial goals.”