COVID-19 has shaken all of our lives—emotionally, financially, maybe even physically. Clients are uneasy and anxious, and market volatility has some of them worried. From what studies have shown about the strengths of female advisors, women in our industry are primed to provide the right mix of emotional support, financial guidance and sound solutions that clients may need most in our current climate.
One reason for this: our clients need empathy to navigate what’s happening around us. COVID-19 has taken a devastating emotional toll on society—from stay-at-home orders and job loss to the struggles of virtual school. Our current environment has resulted in an increase in unexpected deaths of loved ones, a misfortune which may have accelerated the timeline at which an heir expected to inherit money. Now, not only are they dealing with loss, but they may also be unsure of what to do with those funds.
Studies have repeatedly shown that women are biologically more empathetic, a strength that female advisors can lean on today to help comfort clients while providing sound advice. This is also a skillset that female advisors can use to appeal to the newly widowed because studies have shown that affluent women are known for seeking out advisors that they feel they can trust. Approximately 70% of widows switch financial advisors within a year of their spouse’s death because they feel the couple’s previous advisor failed to build a true relationship with them. Female advisors can tap into their innate characteristics, like compassion and care, to help this group through their tough transition. Couple these strategies with the tendency to slow things down and educate new clients, and the females in your firm are setting the stage for a long-lasting, trusting relationship.
Female advisors are also at an advantage because they’re known for looking at things holistically. The past six months have been rocky, and none of us knows what recovery will look like or how long it will take. Add a presidential election to market volatility and things get even more complicated. Advisors who are able to take a step back and help clients visualize the future will be viewed as the most beneficial during this period of unrest.
The global pandemic has challenged all of us, and advisors need to show an increased amount of compassion and care when working with clients right now. And because it may be difficult for some clients to see past the fog, it’s critical that advisors think about their client’s entire wealth profile—not just asset allocation.
Many of these characteristics come naturally to women, but that’s not to say that men can’t—or shouldn’t—learn to implement them. The post-pandemic rebound will take some time, so don’t forget to answer every question, reassure your clients and help them stay the course. They’ll be thankful that you provided them some peace of mind.
Maura Copsey is a partner at Nachman, Norwood & Parrott, a wealth management consultancy in Greenville, South Carolina.