ST. LOUIS, March 13, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Nearly three-quarters (70%) of female financial advisors polled at Edward Jones' 3rd Annual Women's Conference agreed that women investors in the US are underserved, even though they hold more than half the wealth.
The survey of more than 100 of the most successful female financial advisors at the firm aims to take the temperature on top industry issues and reinforced findings from the Center for Talent Innovations which asserts that 75 percent of women under 40 in the US report not having a financial advisor. This amounts to more than $5 trillion in under-leveraged assets.
"With nearly 60 percent of wealth in the United States owned by women, amounting to over $11 trillion in assets, it is important that the financial services industry engages and deeply serves this critical group," said Katherine Mauzy, Principal of Financial Advisor Talent Acquisition at Edward Jones. "We are committed to understanding the specific concerns and challenges facing our female clients, which enables us to both attract and retain them."
To attract these clients, financial advisors implement a variety of strategies. Overwhelmingly however, word of mouth is the most popular strategy among financial advisors, with 94 percent of survey respondents reporting that leveraging existing client relationships is the strategy they choose when it comes to acquiring new women investors.
The survey also examined other approaches used by female financial advisors to attract clients. Partnering with other financial professionals was the second most used strategy among respondents (55 percent), while 30 percent believed creating women's networking groups in the community was a strong way to garner business.
Closing Gaps Through Leadership
Financial advisors feel that female clients are not the only ones being underserved. Nineteen percent of respondents felt there have been no advancements made in the last three to five years to ensure women receive as equal an opportunity as men in the financial services industry, while 51 percent believe that advancements have been made, but there is still much work to be done to attract and retain female financial advisors.
Fifty-two percent of respondents shared that promoting qualified women to executive leadership positions is the best way to attract and retain female talent. This complements findings from a study conducted by The Rockefeller Foundation which revealed 76% of women cite the presence of women in leadership positions as an important consideration for them in choosing where to work.
Second to leadership, 23 percent of female financial advisors cite offering internal networking and mentorship opportunities as the best strategy to attract and retain. Seventeen percent think providing more generous maternity leave policies and benefits is most effective, while only 8 percent see guaranteeing and enforcing equal pay for equal work as the best strategy.
"Although much work has been done in the financial services industry to level the playing field, there remains a gap in ensuring women are given the opportunities and tools they need to succeed," said Monica Giuseffi, Principal of Financial Advisor Inclusion and Diversity at Edward Jones. "As a firm, we have taken great strides in offering tools, mentorship resources and coaching designed to strengthen and advance female leadership trajectories through WINGS, our newly relaunched, firm-wide network for female financial advisors."
Rethinking Regulatory Concerns
For female financial advisors and their clients, representation is not the only challenge they are concerned with. When asked about challenges to the financial services industry in 2018, 45 percent of respondents cited new or impending regulation as the biggest challenge. But that concern isn't shared by clients with only nine percent of the financial advisors reporting regulatory issues are top of mind for the investors they serve.
According to the financial advisors surveyed, the most pressing concern for clients is making sure they have enough money to last throughout retirement. Half of the polled advisors (50 percent) said outliving retirement savings was what worried their clients the most. This was seconded by long term care expenses (31 percent).
The survey of 103 top-earning financial advisors was conducted on the grounds of Edward Jones' 2018 annual Women's Conference, which took place at the firm's St. Louis headquarters from February 22-24, 2018. Out of 3,100 of the firm's women financial advisors, only the top 250 qualified to attend the conference.
About Edward Jones
Edward Jones, a FORTUNE 500 firm headquartered in St. Louis, provides financial services in the U.S. and, through its affiliate, in Canada. Every aspect of the firm's business, from the investments its financial advisors offer to the location of its branch offices, caters to individual investors. The firm's 16,000-plus financial advisors serve more than 7 million clients and care for $1 trillion in assets under management. The Edward Jones website is www.edwardjones.com, and its recruiting website is www.careers.edwardjones.com. Member SIPC.
SOURCE Edward Jones