A trailblazing lesbian financial advisor has found her firm’s eventual successor as part of her plan to launch a new network for LGBTQ wealth management professionals.
Laura LaTourette of Dahlonega, Georgia, Family Wealth Management Group, has selected Advisor Ramona Maior to take over the practice, which uses LPL Financial as its brokerage and The Wealth Consulting Group as its hybrid RIA and supervisory jurisdiction office. LaTourette and Maior, who is bisexual, announced the firm’s succession and the opening of the firm’s Rainbow Network for LGBTQ advisors and allies on the first day of Pride Month.
Maior and LaTourette met last year when Maior, then working in a specialist research and investment management team within the wealth management arm of MUFG Union Bank, asked for a mentorship after noticed LaTourette’s career. influence in the profession. Maior is a Navy veteran, as is LaTourette’s son; both women also lived in foster homes as teenagers and say they faced challenges in the profession as members of the LGBTQ community. Maior’s family emigrated to Chicago from Romania as a child, though she says she suffered childhood abuse and prejudice growing up in a Pentecostal immigrant enclave.
Switching to the practice of LaTourette allows Maior “to help people who need to be represented, to be intentional where I focus my energy and resources, and to provide financial knowledge and advice to others” , she said in an email.
“Being an adopted child and a bisexual woman were identities that I felt I had to hide most of my life. My religious family couldn’t accept my sexual orientation, but serving in the Navy during “don’t ask, don’t tell” created a dynamic in my work environment that followed me through my future jobs. I felt both of those aspects made me look tainted and less than, so I felt like I had to continue to be successful in order to be able to legitimately stand in the same room with my peers,” she said. “When Laura and I hooked up, I felt like I could show up with her. Not only would she accept me, but she would uplift me and encourage me to be creative and develop my ideas.
Union Bank representatives declined to comment on Maior’s official departure from the company on March 1. The 10-year-old advisor and CFP had previously held positions at Vanguard and USAA.
LaTourette praises Maior for being “so resilient, and she’s gotten back up time and time again,” which LaTourette says is “what’s needed in this industry.” At 62, LaTourette intends to retire within the next 70 years. In 2019, she and Councilor Marci Bair started panel discussions at the LPL Focus conference which evolved into the company’s Pride Network. Now, LaTourette aims to expand the idea with the Rainbow Network.
“I want to build people in the industry and help them get to where I am,” LaTourette said. “I want this to be an industry-wide thing so that we’re not just working in our small groups, but all of us taking care of what’s going on in our communities.”
Outraged violence targeting transgender or gender non-conforming people and the controversial condition legislation preventing schools and teachers from discussing sexual orientation in the classroom, current issues include potential LGBTQ clients seeking counselors. LGBTQ Americans spend about $1.4 trillion a year and have nearly twice the national average household income, according to a March report by market research agency The Pride Co-Op.
Many LGBTQ Americans are expressing uncertainty about whether financial firms welcome them, said Jean Lynn Dunn, T. Rowe Price’s knowledge manager for the company’s US Intermediaries Product and Marketing Group. Dunn spoke to several financial advisors who have had “lots of referrals and growth” after demonstrating they are LGBTQ-friendly through marketing, partnerships with local Pride groups and other means, said she said in an interview. The Rainbow Network could add more channels for potential customers and advisors.
“We know this is a growing community, especially in terms of buying power and investing power,” Dunn said. “They want to work with someone, but they don’t know how to find someone who is an ally or a member of the community.
After his freelance move, Maior “really wanted[s] stand up for the oppressed,” she said in an earlier phone interview. In addition to working remotely from the Phoenix area when relocating the practice of around 25-year-old LaTourette, she says she would like to one day open a nonprofit organization focused on advocating for the suppression of stigma around mental health. Her decision to go independent also reflects her own internal transition, she said.
“I identified with my trauma and the situations I went through and felt that I was not good enough to be able to support clients. I struggled with that for a long time,” Maior said. “There was always this inner challenge of ‘Can I do it? Am I good enough? The most important thing was really honoring myself and honoring my dignity.
For her part, LaTourette said she will now refer new clients to Maior and collaborate with her on existing clients as part of the firm’s succession. Maior is also the first member of the fledgling Rainbow Network, with “another on my radar” behind her and others on the way, LaTourette said, citing LPL’s network as a model.
“As soon as we start recruiting, I think it’s going to go pretty fast,” she said. “We need to be broader about it, and the other thing is the money is coming out of the community.”