Should We Issue a Statement About Racism?

Beverly Flaxington is a practice management consultant. She answers questions from advisors facing human resource issues. To submit yours, email us here.

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Dear Bev,

With everything going on in Minneapolis and the rest of the world, what should our messaging be? Do we address our firm’s core philosophy on what’s happening or stay silent to avoid insulting our clients if they have different beliefs? The old adage of staying away from politics and religion seems to be going by the wayside. If we stay away from it, are we silent in our culpability? And what about racism?

Should we make a statement about our beliefs? Do you have any best practices on communication we should consider?


Dear A.E.,

“These are the times that try men’s souls,” as Thomas Paine wrote. History tends to repeat itself. While we have all been trying to figure out how to live in a COVID-19 world and continue to do what we do virtually, now there are protests and serious discussions about systemic racism that need to be addressed. They are certainly “trying times.”

Firms need to take a stand and have a perspective. I am working with a few firms, and have been for months, on the topic of diversity. As an industry, we haven’t done a good job of embracing differences in hiring practices and promotions and retention. We have to look closely at why this is and figure out ways to change the approach within teams and firms to change this dynamic. There are many firms fully focused on this, but it has to become more normal and natural for the system to change.