Financial Advisors Don't Get it, Why They Need to Speak to Women: Alpha Rising

Be sure to check out our lesson learned from earlier in the week: Big Mistake for Women: Counting on Your Spouse for Financial Independence

The financial advisory industry has a big old problem.

With a big emphasis on old.

The majority of high financial advisors are white men, around 55 years old.

Many actually are older - still white men - but older.

And that means they have very "old school" methods of doing business.

Herein lies the problem.

Meet John. Our 60-year-old financial advisor. John has had a great career. Over the years, he has fostered some great relationships with his clients, who also happen to be older men.

Unfortunately, John hasn't spent the same amount of time with his clients' wives.

So when John's clients start to die, which they will, their wives will inherit their often hefty accounts.

It actually is expected that $22 trillion will be transferred to women between now and 2020, says Svetlana Gherzi, a behavioral finance specialist in the UBS Wealth Management chief investment office (UBS) and co-author of a recent study the firm did on women and investing.

Wow!

Yes, except that the wives don't really know John because she was never invited to the big steak dinners and the afternoons on the golf course.

So what is she going to do with that money she inherited? Most likely, she will leave John and take it to someone who will pay attention to her.

"An estimated 70% of that [inherited] money will hit the road," Sallie Krawcheck told us in our #AlphaRising interview with her.

That could be a huge problem for the private wealth groups at banks like Morgan Stanley (MS) , Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) , JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) .

Yet for some reason, they have been so slow to realize this.

Granted, "changing the behavior of the older financial advisor is really tough," says Gherzi.

So many need to be retrained. Women often are more skeptical, so the older financial advisor needs to learn how to address her concerns.

A bigger problem is that "there are woefully fewer women in our profession," says Jane Newton, a managing partner and wealth advisor at RegentAtlantic.

"Of the 310,000 financial advisors in the country, only 16% are women," says Newton, the founder of the Wall Street Women Forum during our inaugural podcast with her. "And based on my experience, most are new to profession."

But this is not all the industry's fault.

"Women need to wake up too. Simple, plain awareness is the first step in closing the gender gap," says Jane Schwartzberg, head of strategic client segments and co-author of the UBS study.

So if you are one of the many women out there who have let her husband deal with the investment accounts over the years, call your financial advisor now.

And we mean right now!

Get to know everything about him or her. Ask him to walk you through everything and start to educate yourself.

The good news is "we absolutely are seeing more women who want to learn about everything," says Schwartzberg, who is heading up a new division -- called UBS Unique - that has made a commitment to increase financial confidence of one million women by 2021.

So the firm is addressing that exact issue and focusing on the needs of female clients.

"Because we have to sound the alarm," warns Schwartzberg.

Yes we do. And it needs to be loud. And both women and advisors need to hear it.


And for more from Tracy Byrnes and Alpha Rising,

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