This could be bad news for advisors, both male and female, who don’t understand how to communicate with women clients. This was the theme at Fidelity Investments’
Pointing to a statistic showing that nearly 70% of women clients will fire their advisor within 12 months of their spouses’ passing, Jylanne Dunne, senior vice president of practice management and consulting of Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services, said “this is a tremendous opportunity for the firms that step up and it’s a tremendous risk for those that don’t.”
Compiling its own proprietary research, third party research, expert input and responses from interviews with nearly 20 advisors, Fidelity developed a guidebook for advisors on engaging female clients that
“Women get a pleasure boost from sharing details and from connecting. Men share headlines,” Kingsbury said in her presentation.
Women have a neurological need to connect, they have greater verbal access to emotions and they are wired to see the whole picture, she explained. With this is mind, Kingsbury stressed, advisors should allow women clients tell their stories, talk about their feelings and help make them feel needed in the decision making process.
Some of the speakers said they felt slightly uncomfortable discussing gender differences, but the fact that it’s coming up shows a shift in the industry.
“Let’s address the elephant in the room,” Kogen said during her session. Many advisors may say they are blind to a client’s gender and that they treat all of their clients same, but it’s time to acknowledge and address the differences, she said.
As a former chief operating officer for
Advisors also need to help build these skills across their teams and staff, she said.
Among other things, Fidelity's guidebook offers advisors four strategies to help them take action to better serve women clients from developing a consistent women centric marketing approach to providing ongoing education to engage clients.
“If there’s one big 'a ha' moment, I think it’s to start with the measuring process,” said
While women are the first demographic Fidelity is focusing on, there are plans to offer advisors similar information about and tips for working with other groups as well, such as the next generation of clients and geographic or cultural groups, he said.
And so far, the goal to bring advisors together to talk about what has worked for them and share actionable ideas to implement in their practices seems to have worked. “It’s one big study group in a ballroom,” Canter said.
The forum on women clients is the first in a series of practice management initiatives that Fidelity is launching to help advisors grow their practices, he said.
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