Women in the RIA Space: How to Attract and Recruit More Women to Your Practice and Retain Them (Part 1 of a 2 Part Series on Women in the RIA Space)
Cerulli Associates, a global research and consulting firm, reports that women represent nearly 51% of the U.S. population, yet make up only 15.7% of the financial advisor headcount. *
This statistic combined with recent research^ suggesting that 42% of advisers intend to retire in the next 10 years makes a strong case for learning how to recruit more female advisers to your practice. While you may be thinking that the primary value of adding more women to your firm is being able to serve more female clients (more on this later), we also believe that diversifying your RIA practice is also an excellent way to ensure your firm’s growth, provided that you can retain these new recruits after you hire them.
With those goals in mind, let’s look at 3 ways to recruit and retain more female advisers:
Tip #1) Create Awareness that Career Opportunities as a Financial Advisor Exist
If your firm is one of the select few who already have at least one female adviser in your practice, you might consider asking her/them to lead and/or participate in a mentor/outreach program. Some women have likely never been introduced to financial advisement as a viable career choice and meeting a successful female adviser from your firm might provide the impetus to explore the possibility further.
Does your firm currently offer an internship program?
Women with experience in overlapping fields such as law, real estate and banking could be excellent additions to your firm, as could college students pursuing finance or business majors. Offering a scholarship program to help offset the cost of education and licensing, combined with the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the field through an internship, might prove irresistible to a potential recruit.
Tip #2) Dispel Commonly-Held Misconceptions About Working in the Industry
In addition to possibly not recognizing that opportunities for women exist in the RIA space, another potential barrier to overcome when trying to recruit more female advisers to your practice might be commonly held misconceptions about the industry itself. A potential recruit might believe your firm is a high-pressure sales environment. By highlighting other aspects of the financial adviser’s role, such as helping people achieve their financial goals, serving as a fiduciary, counseling clients through major life changes and solving problems, you might help to make the idea of working as an adviser more appealing.
A potential prospect might also falsely assume that successful advisers need to spend long hours in the office in order to be successful. It may come as a surprise to them to learn they can potentially set their own work hours to achieve their goals and have the flexibility needed to have a good work/life balance.
Do they understand the career path and how quickly they can advance, as well as what will be required of them along the way? Perhaps even more importantly, do they have your assurance that you will support them along the way and are committed to fostering a culture of gender equality in the workplace?
Creating a positive, supportive work environment for your female advisers can go a long way toward ensuring their satisfaction within your practice and retaining them longer.
Tip #3) Honor Individuality
You might have heard that female clients seeking financial advice prefer to work with female advisers. While this may be true in some cases, many women have excellent rapport with male advisers and might prefer working with men or don’t have a preference either way.
If your intention is to hire more women advisers with the ultimate goal of pairing them with female clients, you might not only be misjudging the desires of your market but could also be thwarting the plans of a recruit with her own ideas of what kind of niche (if any) she wants to serve.
By listening to and supporting the individual goals of everyone in your workforce, regardless of gender, you can potentially diversify and strengthen not only your firm but the RIA space as a whole.
Trade-PMR, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC