NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. -- Want to work with more female clients? Don't make the mistake of assuming that they're all the same.

That was one of the main points Laura Kogen, vice president of practice management and consulting at Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services, made to a room full of female financial advisors here on Thursday.

“Just because they’re all women doesn’t mean they’re sharing the same life experiences,” she told the Women Advisors Forum gathering.

Kogen provided tips for advisors working with married women, widows and divorces, and female executives.


For advisors working with married women, Kogen said, the challenge can be to get women engaged in the financial planning and decision-making process, which is generally dominated by men.

What can you do to bring her to a level that makes sense without talking down to her?” she asked the advisors in attendance.

Kogen suggested that advisors recruit husbands to be part of the solution by pulling them aside and asking them for their cooperation.  The advisor might, for example, bring to the husband’s attention the fact that he always jumps in when asking questions, or arrange to meet with the wife before meeting with the couple jointly.

“We work for the both of you,” she encouraged the advisors to remind the husbands of their married clients.

Kogen also encouraged advisors to educate married women on financial topics by hosting casual events -- after-work gatherings where there are no formal presentations, for instance, or fund companies trying to sell products.


For divorces, widowhood and other types of transition, advisors need to work with female clients to build trust, Kogen said: “It’s about being patient and not being pushy.”

Give widows in particular time -- but also make sure “that you’re doing check-ins to make sure they know, ‘I’m with you. We’re taking care of your financials and we’re ready to talk about it when you’re ready,’ ” she said.

Executive women require yet another strategy, Kogen said: “It’s about being the quarterback.”

She suggested that advisors throw “giant Rolodex-sharing” deck parties, where female executives can exchange information about their top five service providers, such as gardeners and dog walkers.

“Be able to help them connect,” Kogen said.

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