Ep 112: Breaking Barriers: Building a Financial Services Firm That Embraces Diversity & Inclusion with Ka’Neda Bullock

In this episode, we sit down with Ka’Neda Bullock, President of Master Plan Investment Group, Retirement Plan Advisor, and a former Investment News 40 Under 40 Honoree.

Ka’Neda shares some of the lessons she learned while at Smith College, how it relates to working with her current clients, and the importance of effective communication and listening to help clients reach their financial goals.

In this episode, we discuss breaking down stereotypes and promoting equality in financial services, particularly for women. We also dive into Ka’Neda’s personal journey in building her firm, the challenges of balancing running a business while serving clients, the importance of educating the up-and-coming generation of advisors, and the importance of mentorship and diversity in our industry.

Wrap up by talking about the inspiring work that Ka’Neda is doing to promote diversity in the industry to inspire women to be leaders.


Show Notes:

[00:04:26] Exposure to various activities from a young age and involvement in student government at Smith College changed the trajectory of the speaker’s career opportunities.
[00:06:46] Managing the needs of various stakeholders towards a common goal.
[00:09:24] Asking questions and listening is key in understanding stakeholders’ goals and creating a map for solutions. Flipping the meeting when talking more than listening is important. Taking risks and asking unconventional questions is necessary to meet family needs.
[00:14:29] The success of a business depends on having the right team members for each stage of growth, and quickly identifying and addressing any issues. Mentorship and networking with colleagues can also be beneficial.
[00:17:57] Growth can be uncomfortable; hitting a ceiling may signify capacity issues with a need to reassess to move forward.
[00:19:56] The author discusses their transition from wanting to be a lawyer to becoming the owner of an investment management firm thanks to an internship opportunity. They emphasize the importance of identifying and being flexible with talent, looking beyond traditional sources, and focus on a diverse client base.
[00:24:41] Encouraging representation and diversity in the financial industry through exposure and acceptance of personal identity.
[00:27:59] Financial wellness sessions are organized according to life stages to address different financial goals and concerns; communication gap exists between 401K representatives and clients due to language barriers; industry needs to start communicating more clearly and focus on the needs of individual clients to foster growth.
[00:32:24] Challenge yourself to think differently and plan for the future success of your business.
[00:34:13] Master Plan Investment Group offers investment services across the nation and can be found on various social media platforms. They believe in the importance of advisors and families working together, and investing in oneself is essential for success. The book Traction and working with coach Richard Nelson have been game-changers for their practice.


Ka’Neda Bullock Bio:

Ka’Neda N. Bullock, CFP® , MBA, AIF® , APMA® , is president and founder of Master Plan Investment Group, based in Pennington, New Jersey. She is a wealth manager and corporate retirement plan advisor.

She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in government and economics from Smith College, where she was first-year class president and student body president her senior year. She studied for a semester in the Dominican Republic. After college, she completed a Fulbright fellowship in South Korea, where she studied economics and taught English at a girls’ middle school. She speaks some Korean and Spanish.

Ka’Neda began her career in the investment management industry with one of the largest investment firms in the nation, American Funds, also known as Capital Group. She left her corporate role to help individuals, families, and organizations, as a wealth manager and retirement plan advisor for Edward D. Jones & Co., financial services firm, from 2010 to 2014. She became an independent wealth manager and advisor in 2014.

As a wealth manager, Ka’Neda uses customized investment, insurance, and financial planning strategies to help clients maximize their portfolios, achieve their goals, and build generational wealth.

In her role as a retirement plan advisor, she manages workplace retirement plans, such as 401(k) and 403(b) plans, bringing her experience to the entire organization.

Ka’Neda established Master Plan Investment Group in 2019 with a mission to serve clients by helping them clarify their financial goals, chart a course for success, and live a fulfilled life. She became a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER (CFP® ) professional in April 2020. Currently, 3.7 percent of CFP® professionals are Black or Latino, and only 23.3 percent are women. Ka’Neda is committed to improving these statistics. She holds FINRA Series 7 and 66 securities registrations and holds life insurance (term, permanent, and long-term care) and health licenses.

She was one of 15 selected out of the 400 women advisors to be on the inaugural Commonwealth Financial Network Women’s Council. The council advises Commonwealth in its efforts to increase the number of women advisors at Commonwealth and industry-wide and promote their retention. The group will help influence hiring, support, and resources needed to advance this effort. Commonwealth provides independent financial advisors across the country, including Master Plan Investment Group, with trading technology, brokerage services, compliance, and other back-office services.

Ka’Neda received her MBA from the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), where she recognized the future role of technology in the investment management industry and used this knowledge as a foundation for her business.

She is a frequent speaker on money management, including retirement income strategies, investing, insurance, long-term care, financial planning, and general financial literacy.

Ka’Neda is a member of the Princeton Mercer Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Financial Planning Association (FPA), and the National Association of Plan Advisors (NAPA).

Ka’Neda grew up in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, and is a graduate of Lawrence High School. She and her husband, Eric, who is an educator, and their two daughters, Bella and Madison, live in New Jersey. The family enjoys volunteering, as well as supporting live music, visual arts, and comedy in the community, and traveling. Among the countries Ka’Neda has visited are Canada, Liberia, Italy, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, South Korea, Japan, China, Thailand, Vietnam, India, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and Mexico. She believes in being a global citizen.

She is also an active member of the Trenton Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., in which she serves on the finance and strategic planning committee; Shiloh Baptist Church in Trenton, New Jersey, in which she served as the Director of Budgets and Economic Empowerment Chair; Jack and Jill of America, Inc./Mercer County Chapter, in which she serves on the finance committee; Newark Symphony Hall Investment Committee; and the Robert Wood Johnson Young Professionals Board.

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About the Show

Bridging the Gap is a financial podcast hosted by CEO Matt Reiner focused on bringing together leaders from the finance and the technology industries to focus on innovating the financial services industry.