We embarked upon this research to learn more about executive and professional primary breadwinners in order to help advisors grow their business. Our initial expectation was that the findings would be additive to the women’s research already available, and we believe that to be true.
What we didn’t expect, however, were some of the findings around male executives. This group of men is highly engaged both inside – and outside – of the workplace. The data, we believe, signals that we may be in a period of significant transition in how men view their roles outside of the office. Their responses – and those of the women we surveyed – challenged many ingrained perceptions of gender.
We encourage advisors to consider whether they carry any gender stereotypes with them into their marketing, prospecting and client engagement. Here are some takeaways to consider.
To state that you serve high-net-worth individuals is not enough. Most advisors say that they serve wealthy investors. Thinking beyond asset levels will enable you to connect in a more personal and hopefully relevant manner. As the research points out, executive primary breadwinners may be quite unique from other HNW individuals. Don’t make the mistake of casting traditional gender roles on this cohort. Instead, assume they all have a keen interest in their wealth management but don’t assume you know what their primary financial goals and investment objectives are until you’ve discussed their unique circumstances.
Assuming women executives share the same expectations of their financial advisors as other women may not be a winning approach. These HNW primary breadwinners are confident in their investment and financial acumen and are less interested in gender-specific programing than their male peers and possibly other women investors. Understand that while executive women seek efficiency, they also desire a highly personal relationship with their advisor. Be sure to ask questions that will enable you to understand what they expect from you – not what you think they expect from you.
Be sure that you are letting go of historic gender norms when engaging with your executive male clients. The survey revealed that many assumptions typically associated with working women are also true for men. Make sure you ask about their roles at home as well as those at the office and understand how they are juggling both. Given their openness to gender specific programming, consider pulling a group of men together who share similar challenges for an evening of fun and networking. Knowing that other professional breadwinner men are taking on more at home may be cathartic for all involved and position you as more than an investment manager.