Advisors Need To Treat Women As Individuals, Study Says

Financial advisors who want to succeed with women clients need to treat them as individuals, not as a group, according to a new study by the Family Wealth Advisors Council.

Furthermore, the higher the wealth level, the more the woman client wants her advisor to know her as a complete person, not just as an investment client, according to the study.

The study was based on responses from 551 women with at least $1 million in net worth and conducted by the Family Wealth Advisors Council, a national network of fee only wealth management firms.

"Advisors who continue to treat all women the same will see their business steadily decline and eventually evaporate,"  the study concluded.

Although there are some things an overwhelming majority of women agree on, there are issues where a woman's status changes her opinion, the study showed.

More than 80% want an advisor who is a fiduciary-meaning he or she looks out for the client first and the firm second-and think it's critically important to have an advisor create an investment strategy based on the context of the female client's unique situation.

However, although most women do not care if they work with a woman or man advisor, divorced clients and widows prefer to work with a woman rather than a man by a four-to-one margin.

Women now control $14 trillion in personal wealth and that is expected to grow to $22 trillion in the next decade. As a woman's wealth increases, so does her preference in dealing with a wealth manager who looks at her entire life. About 72% of women with a net worth of more than $5 million prefer a wealth manager compared to abut 57% of those with a million.

Of critical concern to women in general is the health of themselves or a spouse, according to the study, with 36% viewing the death of a spouse as a major financial risk.

Women feel more vulnerable about their careers because they take up to ten years on average out of the workforce to be a caregiver, compared to two years spent as a caregiver by the typical man, according to the study.

Married and non-married women also view their advisors differently. Single, divorced or widowed women are much more likely to call their financial advisor about issues not related directly to investments, according to the study.

"This discrepancy likely relates to how advisors frequently consider the husband the primary client and may not have connected with the wife," the study says.

The authors of the study, Eileen O'Connor of McLean Asset Management Corporation in McLean, Va., and Heather Ettinger, managing partner at Fairport Asset Management in Cleveland, said the results were clear.

"The financial services industry needs to listen carefully to what each woman is saying and learn to meet her unique needs, instead of generalizing about women's issues," they wrote. "Although the financial service industry has said it is focusing on women, most firms are still missing the mark. Only those that tailor their approach and services will succeed."  

-Karen DeMasters

Alexandria Financial Buys Capital Management Group
Alexandria Financial Associates, a wealth management firm based in Alexandria, Va., has acquired Capital Management Group, a registered investment advisor with more than $160 million in assets under management.

Capital Management, based in Washington, D.C., serves clients who typically have $1 million or more in investable assets and is a fee-only management service for individuals, estates and trusts in the Washington, D.C., Maryland and northern Virginia. Alexandria Financial is the wealth management division of Botree Westmount Partners.

The combined firms will have more than $400 million in assets under management and offices in Washington, D.C., Virginia and New Jersey, with Augustine Hong remaining CEO and managing partner.

"This acquisition enables us to further strengthen our professional depth and diversity in the registered investment advisor space, where Alexandria Financial and Capital Management already have a strong industry footprint," Hong said.

-Karen DeMasters

Cornerstone Advisors Launches Tax-Exempt Services
Cornerstone Advisors, a wealth management firm for high-net-worth investors based in Bellevue, Wash., has created a service for tax-exempt organizations known as Rise.

As an extension of its wealth management services, Rise will combine the firm's investment strategy experience with donor expectations to provide services for private foundations, nonprofit organizations and endowments.

Rise, which stands for results, integrity, simplicity and empowerment, will provide investment policy design and mission-related investing, portfolio oversight and management, investment administration, donor-related communications and major gift planning and support.

"The Rise work places a particular emphasis on transparency in financial reporting, so that clients and other donors can see how their assets are being well stewarded while supporting their programs," said Kenneth M. Hart, CEO of Cornerstone Advisors, which has $2 billion in assets under management.

-Karen DeMasters


On The Move

Rothstein Kass announced that Gary Kaminsky has joined the firm as a principal in the business advisory services group. He will work in coordination with investment management clients, advising on regulatory and compliance issues. Kaminsky has over 25 years experience in the financial services sector as an attorney and also as co-founder and principal for two hedge fund management companies, Rose Glen Capital Group Inc. and Rock Hill Partners LLC.

Barclays Wealth Trustees of Delaware has named David Chambers as president. Chambers brings over 30 years of experience in trust services, including investment management, operations and business development at companies such as Bryn Mawr Trust, Bessemer Trust and Merrill Lynch, where he was head of both personal and international trust services.

Fieldpoint Private Bank & Trust announced that the New York City based team of Thomas Hakala, Al Jacobi and Joanne Schwind has joined the firm from Wilmington Trust. Hakala and Jacobi are managing directors while Schwind joins as vice president. While at Wilmington Trust, they managed financial relationships with 75 wealthy individuals and families, and close to $1 billion in assets.

Reliance Trust Company
of Atlanta continues to expand its wealth management business in the Southeast with the addition of Stephen Bowden "Bo" Wilkins as executive managing director. Wilkins is a former partner of Nease, Lagana, Eden & Culley and a former planning professional at Northwestern Mutual Life. He is also involved in the Atlanta community, serving on the boards of several philanthropic groups, such as Camp Sunshine and Curing Kids Cancer.

-Kathy Lynch