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Women in Financial Advisory

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging

By Jennifer Mann

Women have made incredible strides to influence professional spaces where men have dominated for years.

According to a 2024 survey, 14 million women owned a business (totaling 39.1% of U.S. firms) at the end of 2023 proving how women continue to create an environment where anything is possible.

Through my work, I’m always finding ways to help my female clients feel confident in making financial decisions, as well as helping fellow women find being a Financial Advisor a rewarding career. In celebration of women’s history month, here are a few ways you can join me in empowering clients and other Financial Advisors.

Opportunities to empower clients

As a Financial Advisor, it’s essential to understand your client’s background and not make snap judgements on how a household makes decisions. According to a GOBankingRates 2023 survey, nearly 90% of American women either share or have complete control of their household finances. When I engage with clients, my commitment is to listen and value every voice in the room.

Whether that’s a couple or an individual, I want all involved to be able to express their thoughts while gaining the needed information. Even in instances where one partner may hold the primary financial role, I address both individuals equally, recognizing the importance of establishing collective financial objectives and strategies.

Once you grasp the importance of addressing everyone involved, learning how to engage with the client occurs next. In my experience, my female clients respond best to financial concepts when being walked through them step-by-step. These clients are typically more conservative with their money than their male counterparts, with a focus on saving for the future.

In most cases, women want to ensure that their family and loved ones will be safe from any circumstance that could affect them financially. They also tend to be more risk averse when deciding on investments.

In those cases, I encourage clients to take some risks as we have already built their family’s safety into the financial plan well in advance. Understanding that risks are an integral part of pursuing opportunities can encourage them to step out of their comfort zone.

To make my clients comfortable, I prioritize financial education through all my planning. It’s not that I am just taking their money and managing it for them, but rather I am educating them on different topics such as investments, employee benefits, savings, retirement, and more. They need to understand why I’m making my recommendations to ensure they have that trust in my suggestions and have the confidence to stick with the plan.

Opportunities for career growth

In the finance sector, 46% of employees are women, but only 15% occupy executive positions. Although these are low numbers, we do see women demonstrating their influence through results. Businesses that fail to tap into the female talent pool limit their ability to attract and retain staff across demographics.

A BCG article shows that 51% of women have high DEI beliefs as top priorities for selecting employment. By embracing policies and practices that empower women personnel, companies gain benefits including innovation, resilience and financial performance. In turn, diverse teams help businesses survive unexpected circumstances and improve overall creativity.

For a woman considering a career as a Financial Advisor, the field has a large amount of flexibility and provides a sense of fulfillment through helping people. However, it can have its difficulties. Along with low diversity, the industry does not discuss and prioritize working with female clients as much as it should, given women’s involvement in financial matters.

Both men and women are often afraid to admit when they don’t know something and will feel embarrassed to admit this to their Advisor. This is why the nurturing nature of many women make them a natural fit for this industry.

For female Financial Advisors, there are resources available to them to help them thrive in the industry. I prioritize attending conferences like the MDRT Annual Meeting, where women in advising can connect and learn together. I also seek out all female study groups where women can coach, encourage, and support each other. Mentorship is a big part of the industry and one female Advisors should seek out.

With these and many other resources and opportunities, I hope to see more women furthering their careers in financial services. By doing so, we can make a significant impact on the industry, ensuring the delivery of the best quality service to every client.