From an office in Woodland Hills,Lamar Hudson provides comprehensive financial advice to a variety of clients – individuals, business owners, nonprofits and charities.
But as an African American in an industry that does not have a lot of people of color in it, Hudson admits it has been a struggle at times during his 33-year career.
Black wealth managers often do not get the same resources or opportunities as their white counterparts do, Hudson said.“We are out there to either survive or die on our own, oftentimes,” he added.Hudson works as an independent financial advisor affiliated with LPL Financial LLC, a subsidiary of LPL Financial Holdings Inc., in Boston, reportedly the largest independent broker-dealer in the U.S.His clientele ranges in age from 20 years old to 97 years old. His second-oldest client will turn 94 later this month, he said.
“I started working with him 30 years ago when he retired,” Hudson said. “I have several clients whom I have worked with for over 20 years.
I now work with their children and grandchildren, so I work with multiple generations of the same family.”Pandemic adviceBefore he agrees to work with clients, Hudson needs to know that their goals are realistic and that he is the right person to help reach those goals.
“I take quite a bit of time in the beginning to determine if we are a good fit,” he added. “My experience has taught me that if you educate clients and manage their expectations, there is a high probably that they will not panic during uncertain times.” Which is what happened last spring, when the market tanked due to the uncertainties around the pandemic.
His advice to clients, in this year of the coronavirus pandemic, is that it is important to review their financial plan and make sure that their investments are in line with their goals.Common questions he was asked were about why the market was correcting itself and if it was similar to what happened in 2008 and the Great Recession.
Hudson does not believe this recession is the same as in 2008 because the economy is in much better shape than it was 12 years ago.
The market corrected itself last spring due to the uncertainty about the pandemic and fundamentals of the market. Next year the economy will tell a different story that what the country is currently facing, he said.
“I continually educate my clients about the market, so they understand that there will be ups and downs, but they need to stay the course,” Hudson explained. “I did not have one client that panicked and liquidated an account. Several of my clients added money to their accounts.”Sticking outWhen Hudson started as financial advisor in 1987 for Investors Diversified Services Inc., , or IDS, the predecessor company to Ameriprise Financial Inc., Blacks represented about 1 percent of the industry, Hudson said.He added: “Sad to say, those numbers are still about the same.”There are not many people of color in financial services because, well, there are not very many people of color in financial services, he continued.“Typically, people tend to gravitate to industries where they see people who look like them,” Hudson added. “Also, you don’t have a lot of people to mentor people who look like us.”He got into financial advising when a friend of his sister told him about an opening at IDS, where the friend also worked. He was hired right away based on his degree and experience in cold calling from a stint working at brokerage firm Dean Witter Reynolds during college.
“They hired me on the spot,” Hudson said. “I took the test to be licensed, passed and started working.” Hudson admitted that he does stick out in the crowd of money managers. When he goes to conferences, he may be the only Black person there.Black advisors face a different scrutiny than other advisors, he noted.For example, there have been times when he has had to diffuse a situation when a person he has talked to on the phone comes in to see him. They are “astonished” when Hudson is pointed out to them as the person they talked to. They may say that he did not sound black on the phone.
“People have these stereotypes that a Black person should not be a financial advisor, I don’t know why,” he said.
– Mark R. Madler