Wealth advisors could benefit from paying greater attention to female clients, according to Emily Ben-Haim, VP, client wealth management at Toronto-based Gluskin Sheff & Associates Inc.
“In my experience, wealth advisors have typically paid more attention to male clients and I often hear from female clients that when they participate in a meeting with their husbands, their wealth advisor may not even address them,” said Ben-Haim.
Transition of wealth means that some women become the primary account holder after being widowed or divorced, but an estimated 80 per cent of Canadian women change to a different advisor because they do not have an existing relationship with the firm previously used by their husbands.
“Human connections are a critical part of our business,” said Ben-Haim. “Clients want to know that their wealth advisor is sincerely listening to them and has their best interests at heart, both financially and personally.” This is one area in particular where female wealth advisors can have the edge, according to Ben-Haim.
“Many female clients prefer to work with a woman because our approach to investments may be more relatable and we may better understand female clients’ financial and personal objectives,” she said.
As a testament to the firm’s progressive outlook and forward thinking, Gluskin Sheff is re-positioning its brand to have a greater focus on women and the next generation. In fact, shortly after joining the firm, Ben-Haim launched Gluskin Sheff’s Women’s Event Series to help educate women about investing and to empower female clients to become more involved in the management of their wealth. What started as just a handful of women in a small boardroom has grown into an active group with over 300 members, which hosts a number of events throughout the year.
Having grown up in Israel, Ben-Haim served in the Israeli Defense Forces before moving to the U.S. at the age of 20, alone and with only two suitcases to her name. She started her career in finance at Morgan Stanley in New York and earned her MBA from NYU’s Stern School of Business, taking night classes while working full-time for JPMorgan in New York. Thereafter, she crossed the pond to London, England to work for JPMorgan’s investment bank on the trading desk before settling in Canada at Gluskin Sheff where she feels at home.
“This firm genuinely cares about its clients, and its commitment to ensuring a superior client experience is a great differentiator,” said Ben-Haim.
Having worked exclusively in male-dominated industries has made Ben-Haim more resilient and she has never allowed her gender to hold her back from achieving success. Loving your work is essential to success in the wealth management industry, Ben-Haim believes.
“Being a wealth advisor is not just a job. I live and breathe my work every day and my clients often become my friends and form a big part of my social network,” she said.