Edward Jones surveyed 100 of its top female advisers who attended its annual Women’s Conference in February about their concerns and how they are serving their female clients. The most substantial finding is that 64% believe it is important to include both spouses in meetings. This sentiment is consistent among all age groups—65% among those 29-44, 64% among those 45-63 and 67% among those older than 63.
“I find that involving both spouses in meetings is incredibly beneficial from a client retention perspective,” says financial adviser Jennifer Marcontell. “This ensures that female individuals are involved in the planning process and helps me as a financial adviser to better understand the family’s financial goals and concerns.”
Citing data from the Center for Talent Innovation, Edward Jones notes that
women hold 39% of the nation’s $28.6 trillion in investable assets—and that nearly
90% of women will take sole control of their finances at some point in their
lives. Edward Jones says this is the largest market opportunity for financial
advisers, be they male or female.
Other efforts that women financial advisers are making to retain female clients include leveraging existing client relationships, cited by 29%. But some female advisers are also starting to employ new techniques, including creating women’s networks, cited by 4%, and using advertising and social media, which 3% are doing. Interestingly, while a mere 4% are using women’s networks, 100% of the female advisers between the ages of 45 and 63 said that this could be the most impactful strategy.
Edward Jones also asked female advisers about their concerns and policies. Only 11% are worried about political uncertainty over the next year, and a mere 3% are concerned about robo-advisers, even though assets managed by robo-advisers have soared from $11.5 billion in 2014 to $61 billion in 2016, according to Business Research Co.
Female advisers’ lack of concern over robo-advisers is testament to their faith in their client relationships, says Katherine Mauzy, principal of financial adviser talent acquisition at Edward Jones. “Female financial advisers are less worried about the impact of robo-advisers on their business and are finding new ways to work with female clients through women’s networks,” Mauzy says.
Female advisers are anxious, however, about the current regulatory environment (42%). This soars to 83% among advisers older than 63%.
Asked about their keys to business success, 39% of female advisers say perseverance and 38% said confidence.
Mauzy noted that although only 14% of financial advisers in the U.S. are female, women make up 19% of advisers at Edward Jones. She also says that the firm is working to create networking opportunities both within its walls and throughout the industry to boost that percentage even higher.