Lucky enough to be mentored by her grandfather who was an investment advisor, Ellen M. Pierce has paid it forward, and during her 30-year career in the advisory field, she has mentored at least 75 protegees, mainly women.
“[Why] women are so critical [in the business] right now is because we still are in a predominately male-dominated world,” the Mid-Atlantic market director for UBS Financial Services told ThinkAdvisor. “More wealth is transferring to women over the next five to eight years. … The strongest teams that we have are ones that do have diversification and different points of view, because most women want to work with women.”
The “Great Wealth Transfer” is estimated at $59 trillion, according to Bankrate. A Boston College study found that women would get 70% of the wealth transfer and will possess two-thirds of the nation’s wealth by 2030. With that in mind, Pierce is helping prepare the next generation of advisors for the future.
Pierce started her own career, after having two children, at Dean Witter, which became Morgan Stanley. She joined UBS in 2004. Today she runs nine offices across Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey and Virginia.
Taking her grandfather’s advice, and following in his footsteps, she became a financial advisor and a mentor. “It’s been an interesting journey and I would like to tell you that I set out with this mission [to mentor women] but that would be wrong. Really, what it came to was I was in the business and women [in the business] started coming to me. It just seemed like a natural fit.”
Throughout the years she has customized her mentoring because “people have different developmental needs and have different skill sets,” she says. For example, her current mentee came from the UBS home office. (She’s had three from the home office, two women and one man). Pierce now has her working as her assistant market head.
“I’m teaching her the field side of the business, and having her get out of her comfort zone. She’s highly intelligent but is used to a lot of structure. And when you’re on my side of the business, there’s many things we can’t control. So you have to learn how to go with the flow and make decisions. Be fair — maybe not always equal — on the decisions that you make, and always be able to have a thought process around those.”