Schwab participates in the inaugural Black Wealth Summit

January 26, 2022 Chelsey Sleator
Professionals gathered to address the racial wealth gap and share strategies on how to build generational wealth for Black families and communities.

A 2019 survey of consumer finances found that white families have eight times ($188,200) the wealth of the typical Black family ($24,100).1 On October 20, 2021, 90+ wealth management professionals from across the industry came together at the Black Wealth Summit to provide the needed knowledge and access to address this wealth gap and to share strategies on how to build generational wealth for Black families and communities.  

Nearly 900 attendees were at the three-day virtual event, including Black investors across the entire economic spectrum and more than 300 Black college students representing several Historical Black College and Universities. Schwab served as one of the founding sponsors and provided key speakers including Omar Aguilar, Chief Investment Officer for Charles Schwab Asset Management, Willie Wheat, Senior Banker with Charles Schwab Banking & Trust Services, and Alvin Odom, Sr. Manager for Diverse Markets with Charles Schwab Banking & Trust Services. 

“This work is not just on the shoulders of Diversity & Inclusion. We have to leverage our financial expertise and replicate at-scale tools and resources like financial planning and budgeting,” said Willie in a panel on the widening racial wealth gap. “It is important that we are students of our crafts. Our wages play a role in building wealth and it is important that we take advantage of our earnings potential.” 

Barriers to Black homeownership, was another featured topic, and in a day-two presentation, Willie and Alvin shared strategies to consider, including “safe debt guidelines,” when embarking on purchasing a home. “Buying a house isn’t just about the down payment,” shared Alvin. “It’s about how home ownership fits with your overall goals and financial priorities. Responsible homeownership involves not only the purchase of a home, but the ability to sustain your home.” Willie and Alvin also shared applicable lending solutions available through Charles Schwab Bank to help navigate homeownership.   

According to the Ariel-Schwab Black Investor Survey, Black Americans are also not benefitting from stock market growth at the same rate as white Americans, with 55% of Black Americans and 71% of white Americans reporting stock market investments.2 On the third day of the summit, Omar discussed this gap and how behavioral finance impacts investors and investments and how humans aren’t wired to be successful investors. Omar offered advice on how to avoid behavioral mistakes like reactive and emotional responses and confirmation bias, by maintaining a focus on creating a strategic portfolio that considers risk, diversification, and a long-term mindset.  

“Overall, the event had a tremendous impact,” said Alvin. “Schwab’s participation was important because it helped us achieve the ideals of our diversity and inclusion pillars. I’m proud that my company stepped up to the plate. Schwab’s participation is helping the Black Wealth Summit achieve their goal while also helping close a racial wealth gap. We have the knowledge and expertise to make a difference.”