Woman to woman

Women Advisors

Woman to woman

Advisors discuss their experiences working with female clients.

Except from Investment News special supplement published November 2014.

There is a cultural assumption that women have a special rapport. What has been your experience?

Kathleen Miller, CFP®, CDFA®, President, Miller Advisors: I was raised on an Iowa farm with four brothers and a sister. And I learned at a very young age that men and women are quite different around money and relationships. We all have labels as little kids. My dad used to say I was the best boy yet. I wasn’t going to be a girl who didn’t get an allowance because she’d overspend or whatever.

And so, I find it very exciting to help women find their pow­er around money and finance. But in the process, we work with a lot of men as well. And many men have come to me and said, “I want to work with you because I know you’ll be there to help my wife, because I’m going to predecease her. I also know that if you’re at this level, you’re smarter than the men.”

Sybil Verch, Western Regional Manager, Senior Vice President, Private Client Group, Raymond James Ltd.: Our tag line for our group is “We Empower Women To Take Control Of Their Finances.” The average age of di­vorce is 41; the average age of widowhood is 57; and women live longer than men do. So it’s important for women to take control of their finances. It builds self-esteem, confidence and independence.

I like to use the analogy, men don’t like to ask for directions; women do. Because when I do a plan, it’s really a road map for my clients—goal-setting and a road map on how to get there. The women love it. But guess what? So do the men.

Sherri Stephens, President, Stephens Wealth Manage­ment: I used to worry that it wasn’t good enough to be a woman at the helm, that I didn’t add value. Now advi­sors are looking to add women to their teams.

Verch: We are in demand.

Lynn Faust, Senior Vice President, Faust-Boyer Group: Actually, we created that demand because we have shown how successful we can be. We have fewer arbitra­tions, we have happier clients, we have better referrals.

When I first came in the business, they handed you a tele­phone book to cold call. Even back then, I hung up on any­one who called my house, so that was not going to be my style. But I knew how to teach. I taught financial planning classes for women at three local colleges.

My first day at Paine Webber a lady walked in with a $100,000 check. And this guy comes over to my cubicle and says, “I thought you were new in this business.”

And I said, “I am.”

“But you just got a $100,000 check.” The news had gone all the way around the office. 

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