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Diversity key: Survey

An American survey has shown that minority communities want to deal with minority financial advisers – and one New Zealand insurer says getting that right in New Zealand will be critical to success here, too.

Wednesday, January 22nd 2014, 6:00AM

by Susan Edmunds

The survey conducted on behalf of US financial planning firm Edward Jones found the overwhelming majority of Hispanic and African-Americans wanted financial services providers to hire a more diverse range of staff.

About two-thirds of the 2046 people polled, and more than three-quarters of Hispanic and African-Americans respondents, said that a firm’s advisers should more closely resemble their client base.

AIA chief executive Wayne Besant said New Zealand’s Maori, Pasifika and Asian communities had younger age structures than the rest of the country, and populations that were growing at a faster rate than the population overall.

“Already 30% of all Kiwis are born outside of New Zealand, migrating primarily from Asian countries.  Clearly, unless we can engage a more diverse population, future market opportunities will decrease,” he said.

He said catering for Asian consumers and working with them to overcome cultural and language barriers would be critical to success. AIA has specifically recruited speakers of other languages to work as agents, such as Mandarin.

Besant said AIA was also developing products to cater for needs that were specific to other communities.

“Working with Iwi and Pasifika communities and enabling their whanau to have cover in place for culturally significant events [such as tangi and unveiling ceremonies] is vital. Above all, relationships are the key to building a better understanding of the communities we serve.”

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