Challenging conventional wisdom through research

February 9, 2022 Chelsey Sleator
A fresh look at data, this time through a new lens of race and ethnicity. See what one researcher discovered about people of color and investing.

Jennifer Lauture, a New Jersey-based Senior Research Manager at Schwab, is always looking to find insights to inspire people or companies to do things differently. 

"I like to dispel myths, and I like to challenge what people think as conventional wisdom through research," explains Jennifer regarding her approach to her work. 

Jennifer was recently able to dispel some myths through research she led on people of color and investing. 

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One of the misconceptions is that there aren't affluent people of color, but that’s not what the research shows. There are people of color in every tier at Schwab and that includes High Net Worth.

What the research is telling us is that there is not a single marketing campaign or product that a client who is a person of color will not come across or use at Schwab.

- Jennifer Lauture, Senior Research Manager, Charles Schwab

Recently, Jennifer was given the latitude to lead and design the research using her training and experience. 

"I was able to use the research and data we already have but look at it through a new lens of race and ethnicity," says Jennifer. "This wasn’t for a specific business project, but I was asked to do it partly in response to what was going on in the U.S. at the time, and because Schwab wants to ensure we are serving everyone." 

This isn't the first time Jennifer has focused her research on race and ethnicity, however it has been nearly 10 years since she has done so. 

"It can be discouraging work, and emotionally taxing as a person of color myself—especially as an immigrant woman with a multiracial and multi-ethnic family. However, what I liked about the research this time around was that I found some silver linings,” explained Jennifer. “There were validating moments that demonstrated Schwab is already committed to the right areas through our efforts with financial education and our partnership with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.” 

While Jennifer has been doing research for 15 years, dating back to her master’s degree work in Economic and Social Inequality at Cornell and bachelor’s in Psychology from Columbia, it took some time for her to feel like she was having an impact via her work.  

"Academic research is very different than corporate research. At the beginning of my career, I didn't have a lot of say in what was important. At TD Ameritrade and now at Schwab, I feel like people value my experience. People are more receptive to how I position research and how I share insights. I'm finding it more worthwhile, and I'm given the authority to position my research in impactful ways. I wasn't always given that opportunity at past companies." 

Jennifer is looking forward to continuing her research work at Schwab. She hopes to transform future discoveries into practical actions that drive strategic decisions. 

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