A Further Look: Female Clients: A Niche Market...or The Market?


More than half of the U.S. population - roughly 166 million people - are women, many of whom control their families’ wealth. The sheer number emphasizes that women’s planning needs are critical to our industry. However, I would caution against lumping them into a singular group. Advisors hoping to find a niche should avoid making their decision based on gender.

Women are influential in a vast majority of our client relationships. Whether as part of a couple or working with us on their own. Dual-income households have evolved considerably in recent years. Financial advice is undergoing its own evolution, and when we break it down to what women are looking for in an advisor, it often lends itself to more of a relationship instead of simply a transaction.

The financial services industry is moving toward this relationship model of no commissions or brokers. Today it’s all about a longer-standing advisory relationship. At DBR & CO, we call it the financial planning revolution.

For example, our meetings with one of our clients, a renowned radiologist are held in her office while she handles numerous issues with colleagues and staff. Being extremely busy running a practice, she relies on us to keep her financial plan up to date. That plan addresses a complex professional and personal lifestyle that includes assisting with 401(k) allocations, tax assistance, estate planning and even legacy planning in the form of a 529 plan for her grandson.

It is a robust relationship centered on keeping her on track while she deals with the stress and distractions of her busy professional life. Women are now the primary earners in 40% of American households — a number that has increased fourfold since 1960, according to 2015 data from BMO Wealth Institute. Additionally, 30% of all private businesses are controlled by female proprietors, the study said.

Business ownership, burgeoning career, divorce, parenthood or choosing to take time off are some of the complex financial issues women face. In addition, we see women transitioning to inherit more wealth than ever before.

One of our colleagues and Dynasty Network partner, Michelle Smith runs a very successful practice, Source Financial Advisors. She recognized the exploding financial influence of women years ago. The firm manages more than $500 million in assets. About 95% of her clients are divorced and widowed women between the ages of 40 and 75, many of them ex-wives of corporate chief executives.

Michelle understood that women currently control 51% — or $14 trillion — of personal wealth in the United States, the BMO data shows. That number is expected to grow to $22 trillion by 2020. By 2028, women will control 75% of discretionary spending around the world, according to data from EY Global Wealth & Asset Management.

With this much clout and desire for more relationship-based financial planning advice, women are one of the catalysts driving the revolution within the financial services industry.

Thanks for reading,

David Root

Founder and CEO

DBR & CO

David Root is Founder and CEO at DBR & CO, a Pittsburgh-based wealth management firm. If you would like to contact the author, David Root, please e-mail him at d.rootjr@dbroot.com or call 412-227-2800.

This material has been provided for general, informational purposes only, represents only a summary of the topics discussed, and is not suitable for everyone. The information contained herein should not be construed as personalized investment advice or recommendations. Rather, they simply reflect the opinions and views of the author. D. B. Root & Company, LLC. does not provide legal, tax, or accounting advice. Before making decisions with legal, tax, or accounting ramifications, you should consult appropriate professionals for advice that is specific to your situation. There can be no assurance that any particular strategy or investment will prove profitable. This document contains information derived from third party sources. Although we believe these third-party sources to be reliable, we make no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information derived from such sources, and take no responsibility therefore. This document contains certain forward-looking statements signaled by words such as "anticipate," "expect", or "believe" that indicate future possibilities. Due to known and unknown risks, other uncertainties and factors, actual results may differ materially from the expectations portrayed in such forward-looking statements. As such, there is no guarantee that the expectations, beliefs, views and opinions expressed in this document will come to pass. Information presented herein is subject to change without notice and should not be considered as a solicitation to buy or sell any security.


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