How to build a pipeline for women in wealth management

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Over the next decade, the baby boomer generation will retire and eventually pass away with approximately $30 trillion in financial assets that will end up in the hands of women. On average, women outlive men by 5-6 years and 70% of widows will switch advisors within the year of their partner’s passing. This is the first generation of women who have accumulated significant wealth through their careers and are seeking advice as they retire, which presents an attractive opportunity for wealth management firms committed to assisting female clients.

In this moment, it is fundamental to have a diverse team that includes solid female advisors; however, only 15% financial advisors across all channels are female. Despite concerted efforts to recruit more women, CEOs and recruiters at financial firms have not had much success, as the pipeline lacks a large number of women with sufficient experience or interest.

This is a sign that firms need to re-evaluate their recruiting process and assist with developing the foundation of the talent pool by appealing to young women in high school and college when they are considering majors and career options.

Young women in the U.S. are less likely to pursue careers in finance because:

Fortunately, there are nonprofit organizations that are looking for partners from the industry to facilitate these efforts. A few examples include:

  • Invest in Girls: Teaches financial literacy and offers mentor programs for high school girls, partnering with professional women to help in the classroom, serve as mentors, sponsor “career day” site visits, and provide internship opportunities. I am a volunteer with this organization, having participated in online Role Model Exchange Days and Invest in Girls Workshops.  I have found the programs to be well organized with strong leadership, and energizing and engaging for all participants.  I look forward to serving as a mentor in the upcoming school year.
  • Rock the Street, Wall Street: Provides financial and investment literacy programs for high school girls designed to spark their interest in finance careers with academic year-long, project-based learning programs taught by local female financial professionals, college and career path guidance, and an alumni network to help source job opportunities.
  • Girls Who Invest: Administers its ten-week summer intensive program to rising college juniors, including four weeks of academic instruction, followed by a six-week paid internship at sponsor firms. They recruit from any major. 

It is possible to add to the ranks of senior women in wealth management to empower firms to benefit from this upcoming wealth transfer. Firms need to prepare by encouraging their employees to become active in the process.

Volunteering for organizations such as those noted above is a win-win proposition as it provides opportunities for professional women to cultivate communities, be positive role models for young women and improve the public perception of finance professions. Building the pipeline of talented women in financial services is good for women, and good for business.