Catalina Franco Cicero was the first in a family that immigrated to the United States from Colombia to learn English, so she was responsible for writing checks for her mother’s household expenses. Currently, as her financial advisor at Tobias Financial Advisors in Plantation, Florida, she uses her early experience to assist her Latin American clients who have immigrated to the United States. .
Franco-Cicero, who came to the United States at the age of eight, is a planner focused on first-generation immigrants and first-generation American clients. Advisors like her help beginners navigate not only college and retirement savings, but also the cultural differences that come with growing wealth in a new country.
“Some of these clients have considerable wealth,” said Franco-Cicero. “They are highly skilled, educated, and in very lucrative businesses[in their countries of origin]but like any client, they just don’t know what to do.”
Immigrants made up nearly one in four or 23.1% of all US science, technology, engineering, and math workers in 2019. report by the American Immigration Council. In 2000, about a generation ago, 16.4% of the country’s STEM workforce was foreign-born.
Anna Enzi Conte, CEO of virtual firm Dare to Dream Financial Planning, said the wealth management industry does not see first-generation immigrants as potential customers. N’Jie-Konte is Puerto Rican/Gambian American and most of her clients come from Asia, Latin America and Africa. She explained that while most immigrants have investment properties and businesses, they have few liquid assets, which can initially discourage advisors from courting them as clients.
“I spoke with a client in Guyana who had 70 homes and a management company, and he only had $500,000 in his portfolio,” said N’Jie-Konte. “He’s not the kind of client most advisors want, but he has a complicated estate and tax situation, so he’s someone you need advice on.”
a study While only 3% of the top U.S. HNWIs are immigrants from Europe and Canada, 1.7% of the richest immigrants are from Asia (particularly Hong Kong, Taiwan, China and India). About 0.5% are from Mexico or Cuba.
All advisors with more geographically diverse clients take into account the different perspectives their clients have on money. While Americans are used to concepts like retirement savings and stock market investments, many immigrants are used to holding onto cash, gold and real estate. Franco-Cicero explained that many of them come from politically and economically unstable countries, making it difficult to trust their finances to governments and markets.
“I have some customers from Argentina and Cuba,” Franco Cicero said. “It’s really important to recognize that.”
David Lee, financial adviser to JPMorgan Wealth Management, said foreign-born clients spend a lot of time understanding the American capital markets.Like mortgages, production called public debt. Lee leads a team that includes his nine core members from outside the United States, including the Dominican Republic, Brazil, Cuba and Iraq. The team’s customer base spans entrepreneurs, business owners, and multi-generational families.
“We have to work with our clients to make sure we educate all of our products,” said Li.
Margherita M. Chen, founder and CEO of Blue Ocean Global Wealth in Gaithersburg, Maryland, said many of her foreign-born clients can be more “collectivist” when it comes to financial planning. He said he always admits that there is So, for example, telling them to save for retirement could be seen as selfish. I have to explain that I can “Clients need to understand that it’s not just the person sitting across from them,” Cheng said.
a study According to the Pew Research Center, U.S. immigrants transferred more than $148 billion to other countries in 2017. In 2016, most of the dollars flowing into Latin America came from the United States.
N’Jie-Konte says he has clients who were first fired by other advisors who disagreed with their personal values of sending money to family or owning investments in their country of origin. “It’s not our job as advisors to dictate what should be prioritized,” N’Jie-Konte said. You shouldn’t set priorities.”
Most advisors agree that diversity within the industry helps address this neglected customer base. Blacks and Latinos make up only 4.1% of her more than 87,000 CFP professionals in the United States, according to the latest data from his CFP Commission, which oversees the certification of certified financial planners. .
At the same time, according to the latest US Census Bureau data, foreign-born residents now make up 14% of the US population, or about 44.5 million people. Projected to account for 88% of US population growth, or 103 million people, between 2015 and her 2065, the country will grow to her 441 million. according to to the Pew Research Center.
So, “we have to try to build trust as advisors, and to build trust, we need to be understanding and approachable,” said Li. “I think people will become more open to bilinguals, trilinguals, quadrilinguals, all of which are important.”
All of this points to a growing demand for wealth management advice from first-generation immigrants.
“Everyone deserves financial health, regardless of background,” said Franco-Cicero.
“And the easier it is to talk to someone who shares your culture, all the more so.”