Pulling in more female clients is a waste of time for advisors and “is not a legitimate segment” of clientele to go after, says famed planner Ric Edelman. “Fifty percent of the world’s population is not a market niche.”
Rather, the bigger focus for the investment advisory industry should be on how to attract more female advisors, Edelman noted during a Thursday panel discussion on what’s top of mind for advisors at the TD Ameritrade NationalLINC conference in Orlando. “Women as advisors have been ignored,” he said, adding that 25% of advisors at Edelman Financial Services are women, “and they tend to be the best” advisors.
Darlene Murphy, president of Wellesley Investment Advisors, agreed on the panel with Edelman that women are not a market niche, adding however that she’s seen a “subtle” shift in her clientele in which “more and more clients come to us as equals” with the husband and wife sharing in the financial decision making.
While her firm is actively trying to recruit female advisors, “it’s tough,” Murphy said. “We run ads, and when we line up all the resumes we just don’t get the number of women we want to see.”
During their discussion on what’s top of mind for advisors, Randy Conner, president of Churchill Management Group, noted that given the market turmoil, a “hyper-focus” of advisors’ business should be on acquiring clients and building on those relationships — new and current ones.
Clients “want to know they are OK; there’s all this noise. Our job is the relationship.”
Edelman agreed that communication during volatile market times is key, noting that Edelman Financial has started “using technology” as a means to calm clients’ jitters. “We reach out early and often” to our clients, via webinars, video conference calls, podcasts and “lunch and learn” seminars at an Edelman office “for an open conversation on the issue of the day,” Edelman said.