Jabbar Jamison’s financial education began when his father opened a checking account for him at the age of 8. He then taught Jamison how to read and understand the stock market pages in the newspaper. It was a foundation for the years ahead.
Two decades later, after earning his MBA from UNC Charlotte in 2008, Jamison chose to focus on the gap between the African-American community and wealth management.
'The MBA degree allows you to apply what you learned in the classroom in your everyday life. Higher education connects the dots to improve things around you.'
— Jabbar Jamison '08 MBA
“After becoming a financial advisor and going to conferences, the disparity became clearer,” Jamison says. “The median average wealth is $12,000 to $17,000 for an African-American family. The Federal Reserve projects it will be net zero in 30 years. That is unacceptable.”
After working with PNC Bank, TIAA and BB&T, Jamison decided it was time to start his own business in 2018. His passion for the economically disadvantaged and for reducing inequality in the African-American community propelled him to start J&G Legacy Financial Group with partner and co-founder Centario Grier.
“Jabbar had the vision to combine our experience and skill sets to bring the ultimate value to the community,” Grier says. “Jabbar’s genuine commitment to service is something I admire. Quite frankly, it’s critical for our firm as we look to rebuild trust in our community. Transparency, education and trust are the hallmarks for our firm. Jabbar embodies all of those to the fullest.”
The pandemic has been tough, but a silver lining for Jamison has been the ability to work remotely. “There are no longer limitations on where I can do business,” he says. “And it is no longer taboo to have a financial conversation over the phone or on Zoom. Working remotely has definitely opened more doors for my business. On the flip side, I sometimes work later at night to accommodate West Coast clients, but my loving wife puts up with my schedule.”
Jamison, a member of the Belk College of Business Alumni Council, credits his professors at Belk College for steering his course. He says Associate Professor Sunil Erevelles’ marketing class taught him that we learn more from our losses than our wins. Other professors taught him how current events have real-world applications. “It was a great foundation for my business,” Jamison says. He practices many of the values he learned as a Charlotte MBA student. Foremost is integrity.
“Reputation is all you have – especially in the financial sector,” Jamison says. “We are a referral business so reputation drives us. The cost of admission is technical expertise, but integrity is more important. I truly believe the integrity of financial advising as a business has suffered because of some of the high-profile figures in the industry so I have to work to restore trust.”
Diverse cultures also speak to the importance of being connected to a global world which often starts in the classroom. “There was a richness of culture in my classes from faculty to students,” said Jamison. “It added to my perspective as I interacted with peers and professors from across the globe. It shows that our world is getting smaller.”
There is also a richness in diverse cultures, according to Jamison. “Many point to Japan’s slowing economic growth that results from a lack of diversity,” Jamison says. “Diversity creates wealth -- there is power in diversity. Just like the ‘Tower of Babel.’ ”
He sees his profession as more of calling than a job. Jamison tackles the conversation about wealth and finances in the African-American community daily. And, the fact is, history has not always been kind to African-Americans. One local example is when Charlotte’s Brooklyn neighborhood was broken up starting in 1949 by construction on Independence Boulevard.
“We are always starting at ground zero, and as a result, African-American wealth is behind many other groups,” Jamison says. “I spend time teaching clients that trust plus communication equals wealth. These subjects are not always addressed in wealth management presentations. There is a misconception that people need to be wealthy to talk to an advisor. We are just showing people how to be strategic with the money they have.”
As to what’s next, the father of three (his youngest was born in March) is pondering getting a doctorate while acknowledging the importance of the Charlotte MBA. “The MBA degree allows you to apply what you learned in the classroom in your everyday life. Higher education connects the dots to improve things around you,” Jamison says.
UNC Charlotte’s nationally ranked Professional MBA, the Belk College's first and largest graduate program, has more than 4,500 alumni, with more than half of them living and working in the Charlotte region.
Green and Gold Drive Business
Established in 1970, the Belk College of Business offers business education programs at the undergraduate, master’s, doctoral and executive levels. The Belk College is one of the Carolinas’ largest business schools, with more than 5,000 students, more than 100 full-time faculty, and more than 34,000 alumni. Accredited by AACSB International, the college is committed to building strong partnerships in the greater Charlotte region and beyond as North Carolina's urban research business school. Learn more about how the Belk College is driving business at belkcollege.charlotte.edu, and on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.