Silvia Tergas was recruited out of college to work for Macy’s, moving from up from sales to the financial division. Though she really enjoyed helping colleagues answer questions about their 401Ks and other financial matters, she never pictured herself working in the world of investments.
“I didn’t see myself reflected in the profession. I saw it as very male-dominated…wearing pinstripes and living in New York,” she said. She didn’t see many Hispanics in the field, either.
It wasn’t until Tergas, who’s of Honduran and Cuban descent, helped her own family manage their retirement that she decided to make a career switch.
Today, the Maryland-based Tergas is a financial planner for Prudential Financial. Investment services companies are identifying a need to have more like her.
With some 53 million Hispanics in the country, the financial sector sees Latinos as a key growth area and is seeking to boost the number of Hispanics working in the financial industry to help draw more Latino families into the savings and investments world.
In 2012, only 5.9 percent of people employed in securities, commodities, funds, trusts and other financial investment sectors were Latino, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report from that year.
Additionally, in a recent Prudential Research survey of 1,023 Americans who self-identified as Latinos and who earned over $25,000, just 15 percent said they used a financial adviser. That compares to 30 percent for the population generally.
Increasing the number of Hispanic financial advisers and expanding financial services to more Latino families is not just good business for companies, it is crucial to growing the economy, said Isaac Cohen, president of DC Inverway LLC and an economic consultant who works primarily with Hispanic businesses.