Female Advisors Weigh in on Industry Trends

An Edward Jones study of female financial advisors reveals the top issues concerning the financial-services industry in the next twelve months.

“Key findings show female financial advisors are less worried about the impact of robo-advisors on their business and are finding new ways to work with female clients through women’s networks,” said Katherine Mauzy, Principal of Financial Advisor Talent Acquisition. “By having a pulse on these concerns and client retention strategies, we are able to continuously keep their needs in check and help them better serve their clients.”

Just 11 percent of female advisors worry about political uncertainty impacting their business in the next year. Even fewer (3 percent) worry about robo-advisors, despite their substantiated growth in assets under management since 2014 – from $11.5 billion to $61 billion in 2016, according to Business Research, Co.

Interestingly, the survey notes, none of the respondents who fall in the 29-44 or 63+ age range view robo-advisors as a threat.

Worries and concerns

A top concern for female advisors is the current regulatory environment (42 percent). In fact, 83 percent of those ages 63+ note the current regulatory environment as the biggest threat, compared to 42 percent in the 45-63 and 31 percent in the 29-44 age range.

“With volatility in the regulatory environment at an all-time high, our female financial advisor concerns mimic those across the industry, but do vary in regard to the robo-advisor threat,” said Katherine Mauzy. “This speaks to both the innovation in our technology platforms and the depth of our financial advisor-client relationships – giving financial advisors the ability to interface with clients in a way that best suits them through texting, videoconferencing, or face-to-face.”

On retaining more female clients

Studies show that women are deeply underserved clients. According to the Center for Talent Innovation, 70 percent of women in the U.S. leave their financial advisor after their spouses die; yet, they hold 39 percent of the estimated $28.6 trillion in investable assets – creating the largest market opportunity for financial advisors today.

To retain more female clients, 64 percent of Edward Jones financial advisors agree the most important strategy is to have both spouses in meetings. The sentiment is consistent across all age groups (65 percent ages 29-44, 64 percent ages 45-63, and 67 percent ages 63+).

Other top strategies used to retain female clients include leveraging existing client relationships (29 percent), creating women’s networks (4 percent) and using advertising and social media (3 percent). One-hundred percent of those ages 45-63 cite women’s networks as the most impactful strategy.

“I find that involving both spouses in meetings is incredibly beneficial from a client retention perspective,” said Jennifer Marcontell, financial advisor and one of Barron’s Magazine‘s top 1,200 financial advisors. “This ensures that female individuals are involved in the planning process and helps me as a financial advisor to better understand the families financial goals and concerns.”

Keys to success

Seventy-seven percent of respondents agree that perseverance (39 percent) and confidence (38 percent) are crucial to success as a financial advisor. These results mimic those of a similar Edward Jones study of female financial advisors, in which 80 percent noted confidence as a primary factor impacting leadership, success and career fulfillment.

When it comes to taking risks, more than two-thirds (71 percent) feel men are more open to taking risks in their professional career than women, suggesting a confidence gap.

Mauzy added: “Women represent 19 percent of our firm’s financial advisor base, relative to just 14 percent of financial advisors in the industry. To increase that number, we are bridging the confidence gap by offering the right programs to build, encourage and provide unique networking opportunities both at Edward Jones and within the industry.”

The survey of 100 top-earning financial advisors was conducted at Edward Jones’ 2017 Women’s Conference in February of this year.

Ayo Mseka
Editor-in-Chief