Practice Management

How the Onyx Advisor Network Helps Underrepresented Financial Advisors Thrive

Brian Thorp
Brian Thorp is the founder and CEO of Wealthtender and Editor-in-Chief. Prior to founding Wealthtender, Brian spent nearly 22 years in multiple leadership roles at Invesco. With over 25 years in the financial services industry, Brian is applying his experience and passion at Wealthtender to help more people enjoy life with less money stress.

Learn about our Editorial Policy.

To make Wealthtender free for readers, we earn money from advertisers, including financial professionals and firms that pay to be featured. This creates a conflict of interest when we favor their promotion over others. Learn more. Wealthtender is not a client of these financial services providers.
➡️ Find a Local Advisor | 🎯 Find a Specialist Advisor

In an industry historically dominated by older white men, times are changing for the better with Onyx Advisor Network empowering underrepresented financial advisors to grow and succeed together.

Picture yourself standing outside the entrance to an auditorium where 100 financial advisors are attending an event. If you were asked to guess how many of these advisors were white men, what number would you choose? Suffice it to say, if they all left the building, it probably wouldn’t be difficult to seat the advisors who remain around a table or two.

Based on the most recent report from the CFP Board, the leading professional organization for financial planners in the US, only about 15 of every 100 financial advisors are racially and ethnically diverse CFP Professionals, while women represent around 23% of CFP Professionals.

These figures show that financial advisor demographics continue to reflect considerable underrepresentation relative to the general US population. For example, while nearly 14% of Americans are Black or African-American according to the US Census Bureau, just 1.9% of advisors counted in the CFP Board report are Black.

While recent DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) efforts across the industry show promising signs of improvement, considerable work remains to elevate the profiles and opportunities for underrepresented financial advisors.

Enter the Onyx Advisor Network

In an effort to elevate the voices of underrepresented advisors, two highly respected African-American financial advisors, Emlen Miles-Mattingly and Dasarte Yarnway, launched the Onyx Advisor Network in 2022.

Today, the Onyx Advisor Network is a growing community of underrepresented financial professionals, including advisors of color, LGBTQ+, and women who offer fiduciary planning services. Beyond its membership platform that encourages networking and offers a growing library of practice management resources, Onyx members gain access to software and tools to operate their business, saving thousands of dollars versus the cost of purchasing these items on their own.

Q&A With Emlen Miles-Mattingly and Dasarte Yarnway, Onyx Advisor Network Founders

We sat down with co-founders Emlen and Dasarte to learn more about the Onyx Advisor Network and what’s ahead as the organization prepares to celebrate its first anniversary.

Q: Since launching the Onyx Advisor Network (ONYX) in May 2022 as a platform focused on supporting underrepresented financial advisors, what have you learned along the way? And has your vision evolved as a result?

Emlen: Since launching ONYX, we’ve learned many lessons. We’ve learned that it takes a village to bring any idea to life. Without the support of our partners, team, and advisor members, ONYX would not be what it is today.

We’ve also learned that businesses take time to grow. Every month, we’ve found ways to improve our service offering to ensure that advisors are equipped to go out and build their dream practices. 

Q: What should advisors think about when deciding if they are a good fit to join ONYX?

Dasarte: I can summarize this in 4 points: The advisor should be thinking about advocacy, community, cost, and impact.

We truly believe that with ONYX and our offering you can build whatever type of practice you envision. Whether it be a lifestyle practice or SEC-registered firm, we have the technology capabilities to get you there.

On top of that, we’re an organization that is seeking to make the industry better. If you align with this, are forward-thinking, and want to grow then ONYX is the network for you. 

Emlen Miles-Mattingly & Dasarte Yarnway, Co-Founders, Onyx Advisor Network

Q: To gain the greatest benefit from joining ONYX, what would you like advisors to know?

Emlen: We’d like advisors to know that we’re intentional about their growth. ONYX isn’t a money grab or trying to nickel and dime advisors with a multitude of offerings. ONYX is about your success. It’s accessible and truly made for the advisor to scale without distractions and pressures to continue to buy. 

Our workshops, core technology stack,  fireside chats with industry experts, monthly calls, and cohorts are all curated with the independent advisor in mind. If you lean into our framework, success is evitable. 

Q: For an advisor who is on the fence about getting started with ONYX, what feedback would you provide to help them decide?

Dasarte: I’d urge advisors who are on the fence to do two things.

The first would be to evaluate why you are looking to join a membership in the first place. While we know that ONYX is a phenomenal network, we understand that it is not a good fit for everyone. Our network works best for advisors who want core pieces of technology alongside an inclusive community that will help catapult them to the next level. We believe that most advisors can benefit from this time of community. 

The next thing would be to evaluate your current tech stack. How much are you paying now and how much more cost-efficient would your practice be by joining ONYX?

Most advisors have technology they may not be using frequently enough to justify the cost. We’d be lying if we said cost did not matter. Every piece of technology in our core and supplemental tech stack has been chosen with the modern advisor in mind. We want to make sure that this technology is affordable and accessible to all of our members. 

Q: Can you share how you established your pricing model and how advisors should measure their ROI?

Emlen: Our pricing model is a monthly fee of $549 for our network members which includes consultative services from Synergy Compliance, 500 accounts from custodian Altruist, either Right Capital or Money Guide Pro for financial planning, data archiving with Message Watcher, and access to our ONYX curated portfolios by Vanguard and Alpha Architect.

Our second offering is a community membership which allows advisors access to ONYX members, events, and discounts. This is $125 per month. Additionally, all advisors can leverage our supplemental partnership which allows them to use tech from industry titans at deep discounts. 

Overall, our model pricing model was created to save advisors money, and provide accessibility and efficiency in their day-to-day practice. ROI should be measured in time and money saved and value-added from being a part of ONYX. 

Q: What are the requirements for advisors to join ONYX?

Dasarte: We have a code of ethics that all advisors have to sign to join ONYX. This ensures that they are advocating for a more inclusive industry and will operate their practices with the highest ethics and values. Additionally, ONYX members are independent firms that can be either fee-only or fee-based. 

Q: What excites you most about the future of ONYX over the next 5 years?

Emlen: We’re excited to know that the industry will be more diverse, accessible, and affordable for all advisors in 5 years because of the work that ONYX is doing now. Furthermore, we feel that the financial industry will continue to develop into one that allows more clients from different racial and economic backgrounds to find advisors that are right for them. This will lead to more messengers (advisors) and a multitude of new households served.

Find an ONYX Network Financial Advisor on Wealthtender

📍 Click on a pin in the map view below for a preview of ONYX Advisor Network financial advisors who can help you reach your money goals with a personalized plan. Or choose the grid view to search our directory of financial advisors with additional filtering options.

ONYX Quick Links

➡️ Visit the Onyx Advisor Network Homepage

➡️ View the ONYX Advisor Directory

➡️ Book a Call with an ONYX Team Member

To make Wealthtender free for readers, we earn money from advertisers, including financial professionals and firms that pay to be featured. This creates a conflict of interest when we favor their promotion over others. Learn more. Wealthtender is not a client of these financial services providers.
➡️ Find a Local Advisor | 🎯 Find a Specialist Advisor