By Jane Wollman Rusoff
One of the most visible young African American influencers in financial services predicts that in 10 to 15 years, this business will be “the most beloved industry in the world.”
That would be some huge change. But in an interview with
Investment Advisor, Tyrone Ross Jr. argues it will happen as
soon as advisors transform themselves from being “takers” to
The director of community at Altruist, a platform with software
designed to let FAs charge less, and host of the firm’s “The Human
Advisor” podcast, Ross spent five years as a Merrill Lynch advisor.
Within the last year, he has popped up on industry hot lists as a
mover pegged to help change the wealth management industry.
Ross, 40, is passionate about what he believes is the need foradvisors to change focus from asset-gathering to serving theunderserved and helping that demographic become financiallyliterate. Indeed, he wants to break the “traditional” advisor“mold,” which he contends is “selfish,” “racist” and “bigoted,”some of which he experienced at Merrill.
He left in 2017 and joined NobleBridge Wealth & AssetManagement Services, where he was managing partner.
On April 1, he launched a business consulting companycalled 401. Targeting young professionals and startup founders, the focus is on technology, with cryptocurrency his specialty. He considers it “perfect” for those who are unbanked.
Ross grew up poor in Edison, New Jersey, and environs. His
Investment Advisor: What’s the impact of the coronavirus
father worked for the sanitation department; his mother drove a
bus and was a home health aide. He attended college on an athlet-
ics scholarship, graduating with a B.A. from Seton Hall University
in 2006. To pay for grad school, he took a job as a probation officer.
Today, one of several hats he wears is director of financial
education at Exponential ETFs, leading the Detroit-based
firm’s “Detroit Invests in You” program for financial literacy,
which is in fundraising mode. Detroit’s median income is less
than half that of the national average, according to Exponential.
Here are highlights of our March interview:
Tyrone Ross: I’m not certain about long-term, but I believe afew things will change: Financial services will become morevirtual — no more in-person meetings with clients, wholesalersand the like; and lots of conferences will go that way, too. Also,advisor [contact info] needs to be in their clients’ phones. Andbecause we’ll be working remotely [more than in past], industrycompliance and regulations will have to change and catch up.
You’ve said your aim is “to break the traditional mold of theadvisor.” What is that mold, and why do you want to break it?The traditional mold is selfish … racist … bigoted … expensive… [and] exclusive. But this is changing, and I’d like to be part ofthat change. What’s forced down advisors’ throats is that success is how much money we manage — not how many lives wetouch. That’s disgusting.
How Advisors CanTransform From‘Takers’ to ‘Givers’
With the move, theindustry will become“most beloved,” saysthe popular speaker.