Financial Resources Group Investment Services supports women in leadership who have gone above and beyond to achieve for the benefit of our firm as well as the financial services industry. Over the coming months, we will be featuring a series of articles spotlighting women leaders at our firm and beyond.
At Financial Resources Group Investment Services, we help our advisors toward success in their financial advising journey. Kristen Vitale, Director of Business Consulting, explained that her career in the financial services industry has been a journey that led her to our firm. “Everything I’ve done in my career has led me here,” she said. “Being with Financial Resources Group, I’m surrounded by the best of the best who have the same motivation and goals – to help advisors who, in turn, help investors. I’m so happy to be working with colleagues I have always known, liked, and respected.”
A Path That Led to Our Firm
Kristen joined our firm in October 2021 with over 20 years in the finance industry, including serving as Senior VP, Investment Program Manager at Chicago-based First Midwest Bank, where she was responsible for the overall direction of the bank’s retail investment and insurance business. Over the past 5 months, she has found her experiences working with bank leadership teams and advisors have given her an advantage working with our network of advisors and institutions.
“My main objective is to get to know what makes our advisors and institutions unique and leverage that uniqueness,” she said. “I want to help them build up their practices as the world changes around us. I also want to remove any obstacles that can get in the way of productivity – to eliminate “busy-work” by leveraging technology — so our advisors can do what they do best.”
Helping Underrepresented Advisors Support Underserved Communities
Having joined LPL Financial in 2010, Kristen has been active and passionate about serving on the LPL Advisor Inclusion Council. Her motivation for having a career in the financial services industry started with her own experiences growing up. “I wasn’t brought up in a wealthy community,” she said. “I believe that access to good financial advice and financial products are important for all households.” It’s this drive that led Kristen to become involved in the Council.
As Kristen explained, the investing world is a diverse one and not everyone has the same access to people and knowledge. “As a woman, I was a minority myself when I started in the industry,” she said. “Underrepresented advisors – those from the LGBTQ, African-American, and Latino communities – in turn, help investors who are also underrepresented. By supporting the advisor community, we’re also reaching the broader population needing access to good financial advice and products.”
Formed in 2018, the mission of the LPL Advisor Inclusion Council is to eliminate hurdles and challenges that minority advisors and investors are faced with. The Council consists of approximately 20 advisors who meet three times each year. “We learn about each other’s challenges and share best practices,” Kristen explained. “We also represent multiple channels at LPL, including financial institutions and independent advisors from both small firms and OSJs. We’re all learning and finding better ways to grow.”
Kristen explained that the LPL Advisor Inclusion Council has helped to add tools and resources for underrepresented advisors and the investors they serve. “There’s still room for expansion, but LPL now has more materials in Spanish,” she said. “LPL has also created marketing materials with imagery that better represents the diversity of advisors and the communities they serve”.
Team Leadership – Top 20 Program Manager*
Kristen has been recognized as one of the Top 20 Program Managers* in the country three distinct years by Bank Investment Consultant (BIC), a leading information source for bank and credit union financial advisors.
“It’s attributed to teamwork,” Kristen said when asked about the honorary distinction. “I helped to build a highly engaged and talented team of advisors that were motivated to grow and build success for themselves and their clients.”
Building Emotional Connections Lead to Better Relationships
“The best advisors in the industry have the ability to build a relationship and form an emotional connection with their clients,” Kristen stressed. “It’s not just about investment returns or picking the best investment portfolio. Success comes from forming strong relationships and developing emotional connections with clients and their families.”
Expanding Upon Our Diversity
As Kristen continues to become acclimated here at Financial Resources Group — working with banks, credit unions, and independent advisors – her goal is to expand upon our existing community of advisors and help them grow their practices. “I look forward to expanding upon our community of advisors so they’re serving a more diverse community of investors across the country.”
*To compile the list of Top 20 Program Managers, Bank Investment Consultants (BIC) ranked program managers based on several criteria, including the number of advisers they oversee, team assets under management, percentage growth in team production, and production per adviser. BIC uses variables that account for size, as well as metrics that capture growth and efficiency to well-rounded professionals, as opposed to those who excel in one area but fall short in others.