An advisor recently e-mailed me regarding my June Investment Advisor column "Venus Rising" about Eleanor Blayney's new book "Women's Worth" on advising the underserved professional women's market. He raised an excellent issue: "I really liked the book, except maybe for the part that made a good case for women using other women professionals. We have roughly 60% female clients (either single or married) actively managing their finances, and their percent of our AUM is higher than that. We seem to work very well with them, and are really looking to expanding that part of our practice. My male friends and clients are exactly as she described them; the secret is out! Maybe I am one of the sensitive male advisors that will benefit from the book."
As far as I can tell, there's very little data on whether male advisors can have a successful women-oriented firm. I do know, from working with a few advisors, that some women prefer female advisors.
Of course, some men prefer male advisors, too. I don't have any hard evidence for this, but my sense is that having a women-oriented approach to personal finances will benefit most advisory practices in two ways:
- As most clients of advisory firms tend to be couples (which typically include a woman), better addressing her needs and concerns will strengthen your client relationships and improve the effectiveness of your advice; and,
- Because much of good financial planning and prudent investing involves suppressing many of our "male" tendencies (to "out perform," to make quick decisions, to make a "good investment" we can tell our golf buddies about, etc.), and taking more of a female comprehensive, long-term, ultimate-result oriented approach, it will probably make for better advice and investment management.
So, for all you "sensitive" male advisors out there: You go, guy! And let me know how it's working out.