In an industry that continues to be dominated by men, it's sometimes difficult for women to make their mark. But as more and more women enter the financial advisory field and rise up the ranks, clients and colleagues alike—both male and female—are starting to the see the benefits of having a woman on the team.
The financial industry has long been known as a “boy’s club” with little room for emotion. While many male advisors are highly skilled at recognizing and responding to their clients’ feelings, women have been shown to have a higher emotional intelligence (EQ). People with a higher EQ generally show a sharper ability to develop mature emotional skills across five categories: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills.
All Advisors Are Caregivers
Studies have shown that a higher EQ is becoming increasingly demanded in the workplace. In our industry, the combination of these skills enables many women to forge deeper, more meaningful relationships with clients. Building on the strength of those relationships, women are often able to get clients to open up about their true needs and desires when it comes to their financial lives. Understanding those needs at a deep level enables the whole team to provide better service for that client.
While it might seem old-fashioned, we continue to see more women than men as the primary caregiver in their families. For many, this role extends to their professional life and for women in financial advisory, it can prove to be an important asset.
Planning for your financial future can be a stressful for many clients. Making plans for your family or a career you’ve worked hard to achieve can be an emotional experience. Clients are looking for someone to care for them and guide them through the process.
It’s important for all members of the financial advisory team to consider themselves caregivers, guiding clients through the tough decisions with sensitivity to each client’s individual needs and concern about the outcome of any decision for the client and the implications it could have outside of profit or loss.
By nature, women tend to be more conservative in their approach to decision making than men. This does not necessarily mean that women are more conservative investors. What it means is that that when helping clients make an investment decision, female advisors are more likely take a step back from the numbers and look carefully at the impact that decision will have on the client’s overall financial plan and lifestyle.
Conservative Decision Making
In our fast-paced, often high-pressure industry, this kind of careful approach to making decisions can help the entire team ensure that every choice helps the client achieve their goals.
In a recent study reported by The New York Times, it was shown that women now occupy nearly 18% of the top slots at Fortune 100 companies while the University of Denver's Colorado Women’s College noted that businesses with women on their boards outperformed companies with all-male boards by 26%. The impact of women’s unique strengths is clear when you look at this diversified leadership.
Traditionally feminine strengths should be celebrated as welcome additions to advisory teams. As a whole, I think we are seeing a positive shift toward empowering women in our industry and encouraging them to leverage their unique abilities to provide excellent client service.
Forging deep relationships, guiding clients through tough decisions with care and understanding their financial needs and goals are important parts of every advisor’s job.
I look forward to seeing more women join the ranks of financial advisory teams so that we can all continue to improve the way we provide these services to clients.