Kim Mustin wants “100 percent of women in America to have a financial plan.”
The co-head of global distribution at BNY Mellon Investment Management admits it’s a lofty goal. That’s why she’s helping BNY Mellon (BK) launch a new initiative – “Knowing Women: Brave Conversations on Women & Retirement” – which has a dual mission: to help advisors speak with female investor prospects and to encourage women to get a financial plan.
“We think our ‘Knowing Women’ program really ties in nicely with what many others in the industry have been doing, which is to help financial advisors focus on the needs of women and understand them,” Mustin told ThinkAdvisor. “But at the same time, to drive these women to be more comfortable to come into those financial advisors’ offices.”
Through this initiative, BNY Mellon will provide advisors with tools that will include ghostwritten articles and social media posts targeted to female clients, training on how to talk to female clients, and guidance for community-centric events focused on female client acquisition.
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“We want to get financial advisors centered on the way women become educated and the way that they make decisions. And to get them comfortable with the questions [women] are likely to ask in the interview process,” Mustin said.
BNY Mellon is also hosting a number of outreach events to educate women on why they need a financial plan.
“We think that this is unique among some of the other tools that are being deployed in the marketplace today, which is to help women feel like they’re in the driver’s seat; to engage to get a financial plan,” Mustin told ThinkAdvisor.
BNY Mellon is also working on finalizing a checklist that will help guide women through the process of finding an advisor, which will be out in mid-May.
“We want people to have a clear pathway and an action plan,” Mustin explained. “It’s more than a checklist, it’s a guide to all the things that are your unique challenges as a woman.”
Mustin sees problems in how the industry currently handles women clients and prospects, and she says it’s largely reflected in the data.
“I think there are a number of people in the industry that are doing a really great job at trying to launch sales practice modules [for female clients] but it still doesn’t seem to be taking hold,” Mustin told ThinkAdvisor. “You see that through female-advisor satisfaction data. You see that in the number of women that are engaging with advisors.”
According to a Pershing BNY Mellon survey from Q1 2015 of 808 affluent U.S. adults, only 30 percent of the roughly 400 women surveyed were happy with their current advisor. The same survey found that only 14 percent of wealthy women feel the industry serves them well.