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The Future of Wealth Management: 4 Insights From BlackRock Leadership Event

As part of my role as founder and CEO of Hearsay Social, I have the pleasure of traveling all over the world to meet with prominent leaders in the industry, learn what’s keeping them up at night, and discuss how Hearsay Social can help them succeed amidst an always-changing business and regulatory landscape.
081 183A0302I recently attended BlackRock‘s Leader to Leader event and participated in a panel titled “The Evolving Investor Experience” moderated by Salim Ramji, head of U.S. Wealth Advisory at BlackRock. It was an honor to speak alongside John Thiel, Head of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management; Mark Tibergien, CEO of Pershing Advisor Solutions; and Bill Harris, CEO and founder of Personal Capital.
We had an insightful dialogue on the future of wealth and asset management and, over the course of the event, it was clear from the speakers and the 100-plus wealth management leaders in attendance that four key issues were – and continue to be – top of mind for the industry:
1. Productivity pressure
Roboadvisors and, in the U.S., the imminent Department of Labor ruling – in which it’s expected to call for greater transparency into how advisors are being paid in fees and product commissions, including adopting a uniform fiduciary standard – are putting the pressure on advisors to deliver more value to clients.
Advisors can only do this by embracing technologies that free their time to focus on the human, emotional aspects of helping coach clients through tough life decisions. Two of the most time-consuming aspects are asset allocation and business development. Overall, the consensus from the C-suite is that there are big opportunities for advisors to leverage automation and productivity tools to help them recapture some of that time.
2. Democratizing advisor access
Data shows millennial clients want both access to do-it-yourself online account management tools and access to a human advisor. Where it wasn’t cost-effective for advisors to serve long-tail clients before, technology has made serving this market much more efficient. Roboadvisors are fine in a bull market, but data already is showing roboadvice clients pulling their money out at the wrong time. This is especially important since most Americans aren’t saving for retirement, or don’t know how, and – based on the math – there’s no way Social Security will be able to support millennials when they retire.
3. Regulatory tsunami 
There are a growing number of regulators and regulations (SEC, FINRA, Department of Labor, CFPB, IRS, CFTC, OCC, state regulators) that are competing with one another to see who can issue the most laws and establish greater jurisdiction over the industry. This instability is a real concern for small and big firms alike who must stay ahead of and navigate more and more regulations.
4. Demographic misalignment
The median advisor is in his mid-50s and male, but the overall client demographic is shifting increasingly toward females and millennials. Industry executives concur that there’s a huge need for tools and technology to reach, recruit and retain a more diverse advisor force in order to stay relevant in the digital age.
While the challenges are very real, there’s also an incredible sense of enthusiasm and optimism. Every firm I’ve talked to has made clear that their focus is on staying relevant to clients, meeting the preferences and expectations of the increasingly omnichannel consumer, and improving productivity. The entire team at Hearsay Social looks forward to delivering the innovation that will ensure the growth and success of our customers, partners and the entire industry.
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How Advisors Can Reach and Engage With Female Investors

women-investing-imageIn the past year alone, financial advisors have recognized the growing importance women play in household investment and financial decision-making, yet often struggle with just how to reach and engage with female investors – or, worse, fail to realize the vast opportunities female investors represent for growing their business.
In a recent Investment News article, I discuss the rise of the female investor and highlight actionable ways for advisors to become more actively engaged with female investors. After researching several key reports from Prudential, Fidelity, BlackRock and others, and speaking with savvy advisors and financial services professionals, I discovered four observations (below). What I found overall was that women generally want the same things as men when it comes to investing, but their approaches and perceptions to investing differ.
Women represent a huge opportunity for advisors
There are a number of explanations for the rise in female investors: women are living longer, increasingly working outside of the home, obtaining higher education (therefore making more money), and acquiring wealth through inheritance or divorce. Whatever the situation, women may just be the biggest opportunity facing advisors today, as evidenced by the following statistics:

  • Women create, control and influence more than $11 trillion in the U.S. alone
  • Women are projected to control half of the U.S. wealth by 2020
  • Only 35% of women trust themselves to make sound financial advice

Focus on what matters to women
As the article points out, advisors can maximize the opportunities presented by rising female investors by focusing on what matters most to women which, ironically, is similar to what matters to men – to be financially secure, save for retirement and provide for the long-term needs of their families.
Below is a summary of the four ways to reach and engage with female investors:
1. Be findable online
Savvy financial advisors know the importance of having a social and digital footprint so female investors can find them when they are looking for financial advice. Like we often say, if you’re not findable online, you don’t exist.
2. Listen first, respond later
“Women don’t want to be talked down to, or accommodated” as Sharon Kucera, a financial advisor and former managing director at BlackRock, points out in the article. Instead, advisors must first listen to the needs and wants of female clients before offering financial advice.
3. Acknowledge gender differences, but realize that women are not all the same
It’s easy to think all women are the same, but that is simply not the case. While it’s important to acknowledge gender differences among women and men, such as women’s approach to investing, it’s equally important not to assume all women want the same things when it comes to investing. Some women “just want to know the next good stock pick.”
4. Focus on the relationship
This should come as no surprise, but it’s all about the relationship when it comes to engaging with female investors, and trust is a key part of it. We’ve talked about the importance of building trust to strengthen relationships before, and advisors who want to relate to female investors must build lasting, trustworthy relationships by offering personalized services and using social media to learn more about existing clients and establish relationships with new ones.
Read the full article for more insights.
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