Indigenous Peoples in Wealth Management

I spend a lot of my time meditating on how to effectively manage money for our clients better. This can be very tactical and granular – it pertains to how we navigate within the system. I spend almost an equal amount of time pondering what an evolved version of capitalism might look like, and how we might go about building this new system. 

Tony and I feel many of our clients share the same passion for the evolution of capitalism as we do. Maybe we share a similar journey and/or you are curious to find solutions around financial literacy, gender equality, the wealth gap and reconciliation. It’s multifaceted, highly complex and we much be intentional as we look to evolve collectively. 

In 2020, our wealth management business grew substantially we even stopped accepting new clients for a good part of the year. At the same time, social movements took to the streets across the world. We needed to add to our team and find somebody who naturally understood the principles of business we operated on—those of stewardship, integrity, biomimicry and grounded normativity

We put the call out and received many inquiries back. Meeting after meeting, it became clear the average financial professional didn’t align with our vision from a purpose standpoint. These people were frankly overly financially motivated and overly masculine. As a response, I went out to find, network with and hear from the type of souls I wanted to work with in building our vision of an evolved wealth management approach. I meditated on this, then decided to set out to find early career indigenous wealth management professionals whom I might learn from and/or recruit to come to build with us. 

I came to find out there is massive indigenous underrepresentation in finance and wealth management. For example, in accounting alone, there are over 210,000 CPAs (source) for instance, and we don’t have any accurate data on what percentage of those identify as indigenous. I actually couldn’t find any recent creditable research on indigenous wealth management professionals specifically. 

There was drastic underrepresentation in the area of professionals we were looking to hire. We sat in the middle of the industry we felt contributed significantly to the cause of that underrepresentation and felt we had access to the resources to make a change. So, we got to work. 

In late 2021 we launched The EthicInvest Furthering Futures Endowment with the help of The Vancouver Foundation. Subsequently, we partnered with Indspire to create the EthicInvest Emerging Indigenous Leaders Bursary. Indspire is what’s called our ‘granting partner’. They are in the communities and know how to make our dollars most effective. Additionally, our donations could even be matched dollar for dollar by the federal government! We needed help supporting these communities that are not our own. Specifically, as it pertains to picking a rising star to support each year, it’s all in this blog post. We raised almost $28,000 to date. Now, we need to get to $60,000 to secure a 10-year commitment to Indspire and get grants to the young women who need it. 

Yes, we will offer money in the form of a bursary. But we will also offer our candidate access to the industry. Access to mentorships, internships, and whatever else we can do to help give the selected recipient tools to educate themselves and become the financial role model of tomorrow. How can we make budgeting, financial responsibility & education cool? By empowering leaders. Allow me to give credit where credit is due – this concept was inspired mainly by the work of Ashley Callingbull who I worked with briefly during a Nike N7 basketball accessibility program in 2017.

Ashley Callingbull Nike Dare to Rise 2017 event

I watched Ashley speak to hundreds of summer campers, and dreams formed before my eyes. I saw kids start to understand what is possible and who they could become for themselves and for their community. 

This isn’t about raising money for a charity or creating a bursary. Frankly that’s unimportant, it is the mechanism, it is the tool, the means – if you will. This is about helping to foster & support a young woman’s path and education to becoming someone who can make financial literacy cool for their community. 

This is about creating educated, homegrown, selfless leaders. This isn’t about creating a fire but fanning an existing flame. 

We created this because we wanted to hire such a person, and we couldn’t find one. We like to think about our impact on Earth as it pertains to the next seven generations. That is big, it’s lofty, and we are on the way. Right now, the least we can do is help create the following generation to help foster a new regenerative cycle here on Turtle Island, and the world. 

There are three ways you can help us grow this idea: 
1. If you can share this post with somebody you feel would be willing to support this Bursary. 
2. If you yourself would consider supporting this Bursary
3. Your contribution in thought & feedback is always appreciated. This idea, like capitalism, is evolving. Come evolve with us!

It takes a village. If you have read this far, I thank you deeply and look forward to connecting soon. 

DISCLAIMER: The comments and opinions expressed herein reflect the personal views of Joss Biggins. They may differ from the opinions of Leede Jones Gable Inc. and should not be considered representative of the research beliefs, opinions, or recommendations of Leede Jones Gable Inc. The information included in this document, including any opinion, is based on various sources believed to be reliable, but its accuracy and completeness is not guaranteed, and Leede Jones Gable Inc. does not assume any liability in providing it. External links are provided 

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