Wealth Adviser Trilogy Financial Corona, Calif.
“The deaf community has not been underserved — it has been ignored,” said Matthew Phillips, wealth adviser, Trilogy Financial, who has a focus on this population.
Mr. Phillips has interacted with deaf people throughout his life. As a boy, he and a deaf neighborhood friend figured out their own way of communicating with each other. As an adult, he coached two deaf children in soccer and took American Sign Language in college as a foreign language in homage to his childhood friend.
Two years ago, by coincidence, he met with a prospective client couple who were deaf. He was determined to find ways to accommodate them and his firm has followed his lead, introducing new initiatives, such as:
• Paying for ASL-certified interpreters, whether in-person or virtual.
• Developing a program to teach ASL to advisers.
• Working with the deaf academic community to create financial vocabulary signs.
• Adding closed captions to videos and creating educational videos with an ASL-certified interpreter.
• Holding town hall workshops for deaf households to introduce them to financial planning.
“The only difference between a hearing-abled and a deaf person is a communication barrier,” Mr. Phillips said. “They don’t lack intelligence, but our culture treats them as [mentally] disabled.”
— Deborah Nason