Below is an interview with Jaime Desmond, senior vice president and chief operating officer of Ladenburg Thalmann Asset Management, discussing the importance of attracting more women to the financial advisory profession and the steps her firm has taken to increase their number of female advisors.

Financial Advisor magazine: How many female advisors does Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services have across its five independent broker-dealers and what percentage of all financial advisors at those companies does that number represent? 

Jaime Desmond: Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services has five independent advisory and broker-dealer firms in its network: Securities America, Triad Advisors, KMS Financial Services, Investacorp Inc. and Securities Service Network Inc.

Today, firms across the Ladenburg Thalmann network have approximately 4,000 advisors. Of those, nearly 900 are women, which translates into roughly 22 percent of the total advisor class.

FA: What are some steps Ladenburg Thalmann has taken to increase the number of female advisors? How does the company’s efforts differ from what others in the business are doing to attract women advisors?

Desmond: Our most important step was the establishment in 2012 of the Ladenburg Institute of Women & Finance. The Institute has driven much of our success in recruiting, retaining and growing the businesses of women advisors across our subsidiary firms.

The Institute’s Annual Symposium enables our top women advisors across all of our broker-dealers to come together in fun and educational setting to share their knowledge with one another.  

But we also provide an array of education, training and networking opportunities for all women advisors across our subsidiaries throughout the year. 

This includes smaller group networking opportunities through a list serve, as well as quarterly practice management and business development training webinars and conference calls.

And of course, mentoring is a critical part of our efforts. Since the Institute was founded, we’ve supported our Lift Mentoring Program, which presents a unique opportunity for a less experienced female advisor to partner with a more experienced female advisor in a highly structured, yearlong program.

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