LPL Financial announced the launch Wednesday of WomenInvest, a marketing and practice management platform designed to help advisors more effectively market to and serve female investors at different stages of their lives.
The program arose out of conversations that LPL advisors and executives had starting last year that recognizes the increased earning power of women who invest and culminated in an LPL-sponsored survey of 1,000 mass affluent U.S. investors, both men and women.
One particular finding from that research stood out, said Marissa Fox-Foley (left) of LPL: “Women investors were much more interested in peace of mind” as their goal rather than simply wealth accumulation. Based on that survey’s findings, on insights gained from smaller, more qualitative focus groups, and on the experiences of LPL advisors who have had success serving women, LPL has built a program that provides a range of tools to its advisors on a dedicated website.
Fox-Foley, executive VP of marketing at LPL Financial, said the tools are meant to allow LPL advisors to build on their current levels of customer service by, first, recognizing that a more collaborative approach to providing investment advice and on couples’ decision-making would be appreciated by women and aid in strengthening long-term client relationships, and then to give them “actionable” tools to deliver on that approach throughout four major life stages of female investors.
The four stages, in which “advisors are often a resource,” notes Fox-Foley, are:
- In Relationships, where the emphasis is on enabling advisors to effectively engage with both partners in a marriage or domestic union. Fox-Foley said that at this stage “the level of engagement with both partners is paramount,” actively engaging both parties early on when they come in as a couple.
- In Transition, in which the focus is on providing support to women investors during a time of significant life change, such as a career transition, divorce or death of a spouse. “Advisors can be a resource when these life events happen,” said Fox-Foley, and having a high level of engagement with the client prior to a transition can aid in retaining her as a client at a time when other research shows many women are more likely to fire their advisor. Women who do leave their advisor often complain, she said, that the “financial advisor never included me in the planning process; I wasn’t talked to or listened to appropriately.”
- In Business, which identifies strategies for advising professional women, including women who are business owners or have inherited significant assets
- In Retirement, where the emphasis is on enabling the advisor to work closely with investors in developing financial strategies that support the goals of living longer and better.
Especially for women in these last three stages, “seminars are a useful tool,” said Fox-Foley, noting that there is much research showing that women like to learn in groups.
LPL’s platform has a library of free, compliance-approved seminars on career transitions, divorce and on female business owners. Also on the site are best practices case studies to help LPL advisors understand the female client marketplace and educate them on the holistic, often nuanced approach they should have in serving women. In addition, LPL provides client questionnaires, workshops, scripts, training and access to original research on behavioral psychology on the site.
In addition, LPL hosts a monthly web seminar for advisors addressing best practices in serving and retaining women clients, and includes breakout sessions at its regional and national conferences where advisors who have had success with female clients share their insights.
Are female clients better served by female advisors? “The approach is for all advisors,” said Fox-Foley, “It’s not about gender,” but about “giving all our advisors the tools” they need to tap into this “incredible opportunity.”