NAIFA and the National African American Insurance Association (NAAIA)
As NAAIA is a NAIFA advocacy partner, NAIFA members can be proud of the progress of insurance and financial services companies with improved diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts. However, we may also feel some concern as NAAIA’s follow-up to their 2018 study noted some areas where DEI initiatives fall short. Significant findings are a lack of influence on career advancement despite sustained efforts through increased DEI-related training, support for resource groups (ERGs), and mentorship programs. In addition, an increasing percentage of respondents in the study reported racial and gender bias as top barriers to entry into the industry of insurance and financial advisors than the study completed in 2018.
We can feel proud of the responding initiatives involving increased diversity, equity, and inclusion in insurance and financial services as a key component of the NAIFA 2025 Strategic Plan. In conjunction with this event, on May 22, 2023, NAIFA will host its 8th Annual DEI Symposium in Washington, D.C. The event is free to all and includes a forum to discuss strategies that create and promote diversity in our industry and serve as a resource for insurance and financial professionals in the NAIFA mission to provide financial security for all Americans. This event and the importance of DEI within the NAIFA mission can make us all proud and encourage our commitment to DEI.
In appreciation of the intent of the DEI effort sponsored by the NAIFA mission, which of the 9 obligations in NAIFA's Code of Ethics can be understood as supporting the effort? My suggestion is there are two. The first would be the second obligation, and the second would be the seventh obligation:
- To work diligently to satisfy the needs of my clients by acting in their best interest.
This certainly applies to all individuals, irrespective of their racial or ethnic backgrounds, and is known as the fiduciary obligation to clients.
- To conduct all business dealings in a manner that would reflect favorably on NAIFA and my profession.
This obligation relates to the image and intention of our organization, to act with integrity, honesty, and goodwill.
Love Your Business
In addition to the DEI initiative and the relative place of this effort in the professional behavior of our members, we also have another example that reflects upon our Code of Ethics obligations, the Love Your Business webinar, available in the Advisor Today Webinar Archives. The emphasis that author and NAIFA Coaches Circle leader Joe Templin brings involves teaching how to have balance and growth while building a sustainable and profitable business you love.
Joe’s presentation reflects:
- To present accurately and honestly, all facts essential to my clients’ financial decisions.
This means an advisor makes certain that all facts that are needed to rightly inform a client faced with a financial decision are provided so that the decision can be well-informed and appropriate for the client’s circumstances.
The two examples that draw upon our obligations in the NAIFA Code of Ethics reflect our awareness of the PREAMBLE to the Code:
Helping my clients protect their assets and establish financial security, independence, and economic freedom for themselves and those they care about is a noble endeavor and deserves my promise to support high standards of integrity, trust, and professionalism throughout my career as an insurance and financial professional. With these principles as a foundation, I freely make the following obligations.
These are the principles to which each of us is bound in our professional practice.
Frank C. Bearden, Ph.D., MSM, CLU, ChFC, is a Managing Member at Frank C. Bearden LLC, author of "The Subtle Influence: Conflicts of Interest in Financial Planning," and a regular contributor to NAIFA's Advisor Today blog.