Financial advisor and incoming student Armani Miller Jackson was awarded the inaugural Wealth Management Advancing Diversity Fellowship. Created to empower talented professionals and diversify the wealth management industry, the fellowship covers full tuition for one student starting Columbia University’s M.P.S. in Wealth Management program in the 2022–2023 academic year.
Jackson is a vice president for J.P. Morgan Chase’s private client advisor business. He assists clients with their short, intermediate, and long-term financial goals, which includes educating them about 529-plans, Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs), and other tax-efficient tactics. He also has a demonstrated commitment to diversity, equality, and inclusion (DEI) in financial services. In a previous role at UBS Financial Services, Jackson co-founded a diversity and inclusion task force to provide mentorship for underrepresented financial advisors and established a framework to discuss sensitive topics. In April, he participated in the inaugural J.P. Morgan Black Advisor Summit to facilitate networking among Black advisors and the firm’s senior leaders.
“I’m honored to receive this fellowship award, which aligns with my personal goals of supporting historically marginalized communities to pursue careers in wealth management and to build their own wealth,” said Jackson. “I am excited to contribute to my cohort’s holistic view of the industry by sharing my experiences and perspective, especially as someone in an underrepresented ethnic group.” Jackson also intends to join student groups and associations involved in DEI initiatives on- and off-campus, and collaborate with leaders from Columbia University School of Professional Studies’s (SPS) Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) Committee.
The Wealth Management Advancing Diversity Fellowship is the first student-funded fellowship offered at Columbia SPS. One hundred percent of Columbia’s very first cohort of Wealth Management students funded the fellowship through voluntary donations. Black Americans and Latinos comprise 3.7% of Certified Financial Planner™ professionals and 15% of all financial advisors according to the CFP Board. Financial research organization Cerulli Associates estimates that nearly 40% of advisors will retire over the next ten years, creating demand for more wealth management professionals that will service an increasingly diverse clientele.
"We are honored to award Armani Miller Jackson the inaugural Wealth Management Advancing Diversity Fellowship, which was established to help accelerate the careers of high-caliber Wealth Management professionals from underrepresented groups. Jackson is a driven and talented financial advisor who has demonstrated a strong commitment to service, leadership, and advancing DEIA initiatives in the workplace and the community. We are looking forward to welcoming him as an active and engaging member of our student cohort this fall," said Tracy Schwartz, Interim Director of Columbia’s Wealth Management M.P.S. program.
Wealth Management graduate and LPL financial advisor at Eckelkamp & Lyman Retirement Planning Craig Lyman was one of the first students to initiate the fellowship and encourage his fellow students to donate.“The incredible diversity of our student cohort enriched our Columbia experience and made us think differently about diversity in the financial services industry. Among other great candidates, Jackson stood out with a unique combination of academic excellence, industry experience, and diversity advocacy. Combine that with his compelling origin story of how he came to the United States and through hard work and education changed his life circumstances, and I can't think of a better first recipient of the Columbia Wealth Management Advancing Diversity Fellowship,” said Lyman.
Born in Jamaica and relocated to the United States at six years old, Jackson understands the impact of a high-quality education first hand. He graduated from high school at sixteen, graduated from college with a B.S. in finance in three years, and obtained an M.B.A. the next year. He has also volunteered with nonprofit organizations, such as KIPP schools and YearUp, to mentor and guide high-achieving, disadvantaged young people to gain college admission and attain their career goals at Fortune 500 companies.
Jackson says he applied to Columbia’s M.P.S. in Wealth Management program because he’s a lifelong learner and commits to being the best financial advisor he can be for his clients. “Columbia’s M.P.S. in Wealth Management is a perfect fit for me. The incredible culture of collaboration and knowledge-sharing being created within each cohort, the extensive curriculum, and my close proximity to the campus were all major reasons why I chose this program. Moreover, the courses are aligned with the skills I’d like to hone, as well as my interest in current and future trends. For example, the Special Topics in Wealth Management: Disruptive Trends course covers ESG/sustainable investing impacting, digital currencies, some of the shifting demographics of wealth, and the democratization of financial advice. These are all topics I would be eager to research more and advance.”
Columbia University’s M.P.S. in Wealth Management program hopes to expand the Advancing Diversity Fellowship to cover tuition costs for more wealth management professionals in the future. Corporations, firms, alumni, students, and other individuals who would like to support the fellowship may contact Columbia SPS’s Associate Dean of Development and Alumni Relations Sonal Pande at sonal [[dot]] pande [[at]] columbia [[dot]] edu. Columbia SPS also graciously accepts online donations on sps.givenow.columbia.edu.
Learn more about the Wealth Management Advancing Diversity Fellowship.
About Columbia’s Wealth Management M.P. S. Program
Columbia University’s Master of Professional Studies degree in Wealth Management is the only program of its kind in the Ivy League. It prepares experienced and aspiring wealth management professionals to meet the disruptive challenges of today’s industry. The rigorous, multidisciplinary program helps students build expertise in the theory and practice of core areas of wealth management, such as investment, tax, estate, and retirement planning in conjunction with honing important client skills, such as communication, psychology, decision-making, and relationship management. A sixteen-month online program specially designed to accommodate working professionals, Columbia University’s M.P.S. in Wealth Management program is taught by elite faculty with deep, applied experience in their respective fields. Additionally, it is a CFP Board Registered program, designed to help students meet the educational requirements for CFP® certification.