2023 RPAY – Marilyn Suey, The Diamond Group Wealth Advisors

Business at a Glance as of 12/31/22

  • Plan assets under advisement: $20.2 million
  • Median plan size (in assets): $1.3 million
  • Plans under administration: 17
  • Total participants served: 317

PLANADVISER: Tell us about your practice and how you got into advising retirement plans.

Suey: I started saving in a 401(k) plan at age 21 with a 6% match. That habit of saving every payroll stayed with me throughout my corporate career and is the foundation for my personal retirement income. I have transferred those same saving goals to our employer plans and their participants.

We want to educate, elevate and inspire all of our clients to save in their company retirement plans and maximize their wealth accumulation over their careers. It’s a rewarding experience when we see the growth of our participants’ accounts as we advise them over time.

PLANADVISER: How is your team/process/structure unique? How has it evolved? Where will you be in five years?

Suey: We know that client satisfaction is key to our long-term success and the growth of our firm. We have added client services associates as our business has grown. In addition, we have invested in business development marketing to build our brand to support our Savvy Women Community. We have had great success in serving our Savvy Women clients, who are business owners, C-level executives and health care professionals.

PLANADVISER: As a retirement plan adviser, what do you take the most pride in?

Suey: We have served several of our employers for more than 15 years, and we love seeing the growth in both the plans themselves and the confidence and clarity our participants and employers have with their retirement readiness.

PLANADVISER: How do you grow your business? What changes to your practice or service model are you planning for 2023 or 2024?

Suey: We are direct marketing to local business owners and health care professionals. We gratefully are referred to new employers as well by our colleagues and clients.

PLANADVISER: What challenges do you think the retirement plan industry faces and what role do you have in addressing and confronting those challenges?

Suey: Retirement readiness is a critical area for advisers to lead their plan participants. We must have their best interests as our goals and be able to have clarity and confidence in their ability to retire well. More education, more in-depth advice beyond just saving, and investment performance is in our process and programs for our employers.

PLANADVISER: How do you go about moving from words and ideas to action when it comes to addressing the lack of diversity in the financial advisory industry?

Suey: I have been the “example” of diversity since I joined corporate America in the 1970s. Being an Asian woman, climbing the corporate ladder was a challenging experience. I felt like I succeeded over time, with several stints as a C-Level executive, including CEO. I was a leader in the technology industry, which has had more diversity than some sectors over time.

Today, in the financial services business, I have observed that we have a long way to go to truly have diversity in this industry. It has been a male-dominated industry, and while there are women like me making strides as wealth managers, we are still a minority.

My team is highly diverse, including both women and men. We are multi-cultural as well. I have strived to support and build our team’s experience and expertise by supporting them to attain certifications, licenses and other financial services credentials. I believe that education is the key to success for our young professionals joining this industry. In addition, I have led discussions at FPA meetings and other industry forums to promote diversity.

PLANADVISER: What are some of the benefits that an equitable and inclusive culture bring to a firm and its people?

Suey: The demographics of our country are changing, and our industry must change as well. With a multicultural employee base in a firm like ours, we mirror the changing demographics in our region (West Coast) and may be able to serve a broader set of clients. I am looking forward to seeing our team grow in experience as we mentor them to take their next steps in this industry.