Why ‘teaming’ is a priority among female financial advisors

Survey of elite women wealth advisors reveals critical role of mentoring, relationship-building, and personal development

Why ‘teaming’ is a priority among female financial advisors

The lack of female talent in financial services is a persistent and well-reported problem – and tackling it may require firms to review and possibly revamp their management style.

Financial services firm Carson Group, in a joint study with Insights Group, conducted a quantitative and qualitative survey of elite female wealth advisors and financial planners from around the U.S., the majority of whom had more than a decade of professional experience and more than 50 clients.

"Women account for an increasing amount of wealth in this country, and it's imperative that we tap their unique perspective as we reinvent the advisory profession and financial services in general," Teri Shepherd, co-president of Carson Group, said in a statement.

One key finding from the research, according to Shepherd, was that female advisors are more effective when they follow a “teaming” approach to their work. Under the teaming structure, each member of the team is supported and highlighted for the specialties and skill sets they bring to the client experience.

According to survey respondents, teaming can be challenging to implement with the default organizational chart, which lends itself better to the decades-observed setup of a single advisor, primarily male, solely spearheading the firm’s direction. Notably, nearly 60% of the female advisors polled identified “Firm Culture and Leadership” as the top hurdle they faced when joining the industry.

Among the multiple benefits of the teaming concept, survey participants said, were the increased opportunity for personal development and its usefulness in building an effective succession plan.

Female advisors largely agreed on the importance of external feedback for personal development, with 55% of participants underscoring the critical role of mentoring and coaching. They also specifically highlighted the need for enhanced training programs focusing on relationship building, financial planning, and operational excellence, along with more intentional mentorship programs that made female leaders available as role models.

The teaming setup, respondents added, delivers a more compelling experience for clients. That supports their efforts to build up their book, as 47% cited “client referrals” as a cornerstone sales approach of their practice.

Looking at advisors’ compensation preferences, hybrid compensation models (salary + variable) emerged as the most preferred approach. Aside from providing some level of security, respondents said the model is well suited to support a team-based work structure.

Another key finding from the survey was how female advisors’ need to balance career and family has created a perception that they’re less committed or engaged than their male counterparts.

"This survey reinforced just how different management styles can be between men and," Shepherd said.


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