A Wealth of Cultures, A Wealth of Contributions

AAPI Heritage Month isn’t just an opportunity to celebrate the cultures that comprise the majority of the world’s population. It's also a reminder that all groups are made of distinct individuals, not homogenous masses, and that the human experience unites us far more than any perceived differences should divide us.

A Wealth of Cultures, A Wealth of Contributions

AAPI Heritage Month isn’t just an opportunity to celebrate the cultures that comprise the majority of the world’s population. It's also a reminder that all groups are made of distinct individuals, not homogenous masses, and that the human experience unites us far more than any perceived differences should divide us.

May was chosen as Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month in honor of the first Japanese immigrants to the U.S. on May 7, 1843, as well as the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869, which would have been impossible if not for the work—mostly under harsh and dangerous conditions—of the Chinese laborers brought in to do it after recruiting American workers proved difficult.1

But the first AAPI immigrants likely arrived before there was a U.S., when Filipino sailors escaped the difficult life on Spanish galleon trade ships to establish the bayou village of St. Malo, Louisiana, as early as 1763. Known as “Manilamen” after the Philippine capital, some would go on to defend New Orleans from the British alongside Andrew Jackson’s troops in the War of 1812—an early contribution in a proud tradition of AAPI immigrants and citizens building and bettering an America that hasn’t always been welcoming.

With the more than 30 countries of Asia and the Pacific home to some 60% of the world’s population, speaking over 100 different languages and representing a breadth of cultures,2,3 the AAPI community draws from a varied and colorful palette to enhance the American experience. This AAPI Heritage Month, we challenge everyone to explore how each of us can reciprocate, and assure this diverse community’s collective experience lives up to the American ideals of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

We don’t need to look far for examples of how the AAPI community has been instrumental to our collective growth and success. Hear from AAPI members of the Cetera community about what they enjoy celebrating and sharing about their heritage.

Caring Cetera Raises $240,000 (and Counting) for Diversity in Financial Planning Scholarship

To help encourage greater representation and access within our profession, Caring Cetera launched the Diversity in Financial Planning Scholarship, offering financial and mentorship support to students from communities traditionally underrepresented in financial services. To date, $240,000 has been raised to help deserving students pursue their financial planning career.
Learn More or Make a Donation

Suggested Watching

 

While movies by and about the AAPI community have been coming to the forefront of mainstream cinema in recent decades through critical and box-offices successes such as The Joy Luck Club, Moana, The Farewell, Parasite, and Minari, just to name a few, we thought we’d focus on online documentary media available to just about everyone, whether you have a streaming subscription or not. Just select the titles below to be transported to an opportunity to learn and reflect, while growing your understanding of and appreciation for the depth of challenge—and opportunity—around all of us.

Asian Americans

PBS

This five-part series, which The New York Times calls “the most ambitious documentary project ever to chronicle the history of the Asian-American community,” tells the Asian-American experience through the stories of those who lived it, from the tragedies and indignities suffered to the resiliency, determination, and contributions that endure.

We Need to Talk About Asian Hate

The Try Guys

This hourlong exploration of the origins of anti-Asian sentiment and aggression—and what to do about it—features conversations with members of the AAPI community such as journalist Lisa Ling and Congressman Andy Kim, among others, on the challenges confronting and even within the Asian community confounding progress to a future free of anti-Asian bias.

Deported

Sahra V. Nguyen/NBC News

This 45-minute documentary, divided into five parts, chronicles the story of how a legislative change left some 16,000 Southeast Asian refugees living in the U.S. since the '70s—most fleeing a war the U.S. took part in—vulnerable to deportation back to Cambodia despite the lives and families they’d already built here.

Valued Partnerships

 

We are honored to be the partner of choice for Cathay Bank and East West Investment Services. These financial institutions were both founded with a focus on serving the needs of the AAPI community, but their doors are open to all. Their success serves as a strong reminder that in our increasingly globalized society, we do not have to choose between taking pride in our own heritage and honoring the diversity within the places we choose to make our home. In fact, doing both creates a richer experience for everyone.

Below, we hear from some of the financial professionals within these institutions: what inspires them, their approach to catering their services to the needs of their clients, and how to strengthen ties with the AAPI community.

Doris Lau 劉中雲
First Vice President, Financial Consultant
East West Investment Services
What do you enjoy most about working with the AAPI community?
As a first generation Chinese-American, I feel very fortunate to be able to work with and help many new immigrants and make them still feel at home here with the same language and cultural backgrounds which we share. Having spent half of my life in Asia during my childhood and the other half here in the U.S., I’m able to share different experiences to which they might encounter starting their new life in the U.S. This bond greatly helps tighten our advisor-client relationship and pays tribute to our bank motto as I am acting as the bridge “linking the East and West.”
Tony Yu 余昌達
Vice President, Financial Consultant
East West Investment Services
How can financial professionals attract and retain AAPI clients?
Most of the AAPI community is very conservative with their money. It may sound obvious but take your time to listen and get to know the client before making recommendations; many still fail to do so. Be patient and try to put on your teacher’s hat and truly educate them about the different choices and options they might have. Importantly, use your heart when you service them. Try not to outsmart them by over-leveraging your expertise and jargon. You may win the argument but lose the client.
Joseph Wang 王恆易
Vice President, Financial Consultant
East West Investment Services
What do you enjoy most about working with the AAPI community?
Being from an immigrant family, I have a special desire to help AAPI families prepare and plan for their future. My own experiences in seeing how my parents struggled to make a living and provide for our family made me realize how important it is to have a trusted and competent financial professional helping AAPI families. As immigrants, most AAPIs struggle to understand the American financial systems and investments. Many AAPIs have different views on money and there is usually a stigma associated with investing as a form of gambling.

Therefore, as a financial professional, it is not enough to only understand the financial or investment needs of AAPI clients, but also to understand what cultural norms they may have and to address those concerns properly.

Every time I am successful in helping my clients, I think back to my own parents and take satisfaction that I helped my clients be better prepared to meet their financial needs.
Linda Y. Liu
First Vice President, Sr. Financial Consultant
East West Investment Services
What is the best way to market to AAPI investors?
Attend community networking events such as small business owners associations and reach out to the local Chamber of Commerce. These events will enable you to get to know the centers of influence in the community.

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