Hubly Insights: Women in Finance & How They Help Advisory Firms Thrive
More than 55% of Hubly users identify as female — a surprising finding in a male-dominated industry. Fascinated by this statistic we decided to look deeper into the hundreds of financial advisory firms that trust their operations to Hubly. We wanted to find what sets women apart in the financial services world and why they are more inclined to adopt new technology in order to provide a better client experience and prevent things from slipping through the cracks. We discovered five key themes which we are excited to share in celebration of international women's day.
1. Women focus on a service first approach
It's not called "financial services" for nothing! Women in finance tend to naturally approach the financial advising relationship through a "service first" lens versus seeing it as a transaction. Today clients value having a relationship with their advisors and naturally gravitate towards firms where they feel that they will receive a highly personalized experience. From what we’ve witnessed, women in financial services understand that genuine service is at the foundation of all successful advisory relationships. They invest the time and effort into cultivating a service-minded culture at their firms and do not hesitate to go the extra mile for clients.
This service first approach is worth the investment of time as it helps establish a strong level of trust with clients — increasing the chance of them staying with you long-term and providing referrals. The study “Diversity in financial planning: Race, gender, and the likelihood to trust a financial planner,” found that female planners often received higher trust ratings than their male counterparts, aligning with previous research that found women were also perceived as more trustworthy in sales roles. As an interesting aside, women were also found to trust their financial planners more than men in general.
A major element of the service first approach is utilizing the right tools and technology to help provide a more personalized client experience without sacrificing your scalability. Investing in the right technology to structure how your team works can allow you to provide a more proactive service while scaling the human touch elements that clients desire and value long term.
2: Women start with a more comprehensive service
Many woman-led financial advisory firms adopt a comprehensive model instead of focusing around one specific service. By looking closely at all areas of a client’s finances, they have the opportunity to build stronger relationships with their clients and hone in on what’s most important. A financial advisor or planner that offers this type of all-inclusive experience monitors a variety of needs and is well positioned to deliver a range of services that create value long-term as a client’s situation changes. These services can include, but are not limited to:
- Asset management
- Tax planning
- Estate planning and review
- Life Insurance (as well as disability, home, auto, health)
- Cash-flow management
- College planning
- Tax preparation
A growing number of professionals view finances holistically because they know it's in their clients’ best interest, and some financial professionals, such as Certified Financial Planners (CFPs), are required to cover a broad range of financial topics.
3: Women place emphasis on delegation
Women want to ensure they have a happy and productive back-office. As a result, they are often willing to give up control and delegate tasks to their teams. Through delegation, women free up their capacity to focus more of their time on developing relationships with their clients. As an additional outcome, their team members gain a more well-rounded understanding of the business and feel more empowered to make decisions and spot opportunities to create additional value for clients.
Certified financial services professionals such as CFPs, CPAs, or CFAs must maintain and deliver on client promises (or risk losing their license) — creating structures within your team to allow for effective delegation is crucial. It’s not enough to simply hand over tasks as they come up — it’s important to invest in defining clear work-processes that your team can follow. Proper training, documented instructions, and access to the background information needed to complete the task. Women who use Hubly invest in delegation processes that ensure items are delivered timely and accurately so that nothing falls through the cracks for their clients.
Related Case Study: How Meghan’s Team of 5 Uses Hubly to Function like a Team of 10
4: Women invest in their back office staff
According to Women in the Workplace, 2021, LeanIn.org and McKinsey, 2021, “employees with women managers are more likely to say that their manager has supported and helped them over the past year.” Hubly also found that women in successful advisory firms invest in their back office staff by teaching them best practice processes, rather than trying to do everything themselves. Investing in your people will always provide one of the best ROIs, and this is especially true for those working behind the scenes who keep everything running smoothly.
When we ran a report to find out the most efficient back office workers in Hubly, based on the amount of tasks completed per week, we found Becki Johnson was among the top 10. Becki works as an Administrative Assistant at female-run advisory firm Anita Ritter Financial and when we recently interviewed she said;
“Since I have four kids and homeschool I have mostly only worked evening jobs. Prior to having children I worked in customer service, my current boss [Anita Ritter, AAMS] made an offer I couldn’t refuse. She offered me a temporary position as an admin and I worked out the childcare. The position became permanent!”
Anita’s investment in Becky paid off immensely as she quickly rose to the top as one of the most productive back office workers utilizing Hubly. A happy and productive back office team is key to streamlining your processes and eliminating bottlenecks.
5: They place importance on future-proofing their business
Another way women allow advisory firms to flourish is by seeing things through a long-term lens, especially when it comes to continuity and succession planning. In a human capital-driven business, you need to ensure continuity — after all, clients are trusting you with their life savings. The best firms have detailed plans for the unexpected and are transparent with clients about these plans.
Firms commonly use the “What happens if you get hit by a bus?” phrase as motivation to future-proof their business against some form of unexpected event – such as a key member of the advisory firm devastatingly getting hit by a bus. Linda Leitz, President of Peace of Mind Financial Planning, believes that in her case it’s more likely to be a beer truck than a bus. Linda said that, since using Hubly, “We are fast approaching the point where the beer truck does not scare us because if somebody is hit, we know everything they do.”
While you may know your key processes and clients like the back of your hand, that knowledge will instantly disappear if something happens to you, leaving you firm in jeopardy. Proper documentation ensures that important information is not tied solely to one person and that the future of the firm does not go up in flames if something unforeseen happens to them.
Since Hubly's launch, we've gained some surprising learnings about ins-and outs of how different financial advisory firms run their business. We did not set out to compare the differences between how women and men function within the financial services industry, but the impact that women have on a financial advisory firm’s success immediately became apparent through how they utilized Hubly. Women's tendency to provide comprehensive financial services with a relationship-first approach, aptitude for effectively assigning tasks, and knack for future-proofing their business, help financial advisory firms thrive.
This isn’t to say that men don’t bring their own strengths to the table. However, the financial services industry can no longer be a “boys club” if advisory firms are to succeed. We believe that the advisory firms of the future will continue to invest in a diverse workforce to drive business process automation, transformation of the client experience, and investing in the back-office to help make workers happy and productive.
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