For over 25 years, Tom Huvane has been a trusted Financial Advisor providing advice that is tailored to his clients’ unique circumstances and goals. He is one of a select group of UBS financial advisors who have earned the Wealth Advisor designation and has achieved President’s Club status, which ranks him among the top advisors in the firm. Tom is also a member of All Bar None, which promotes the professional advancement of women at UBS. Outside of UBS, he is a member of the Women’s Enterprise Development Center (WEDC), the premier hub for women entrepreneurs in Westchester County.
A few years ago, our team was analyzing our client base and we discovered that the number of qualified new relationships we brought in that year was higher than average. So, we decided to dig a little deeper and find out how these new clients came to us. What we learned was that many new clients came in through personal introductions from our existing women clients-they were referred to us by female friends, colleagues and mentors. Based on this knowledge, we decided to get more involved in the women’s market and learn how to better engage our female clients.
I read books about women investors and marketing to women, and engaged with authors to discuss the research they had conducted. The data related to how much wealth women control was truly eye-popping-women make a significant amount of financial decisions and a majority of real estate decisions. I started thinking, ‘Is anyone paying attention to this?’
To truly understand how women process information and make decisions, I had to get out of my comfort zone. I started going to events that were well attended by women and became involved with the WEDC-a group for women entrepreneurs in Westchester County. I also held small roundtable events with women clients and their friends where we could talk about what women value in financial relationships and what would inspire them to join an advisory practice. I learned a lot by simply asking women investors what they wanted, listening carefully to their responses and executing on their ideas.
One of the main things I learned is that women do not make decisions lightly. I think two key words related to serving female clients are ‘listen’ and ‘patience.’ Unfortunately, a lot of male financial advisors talk more than they listen and want decisions immediately. I learned that when women say they need to think about it, they aren’t being dismissive. They are engaging and gathering input from their trusted circle of friends, spouses and colleagues and thinking about the solutions you’ve proposed.
One way to think about it is that you want to get a seat on her personal board of directors. Most women develop a group of trusted advisors throughout their lives that they consult with when making important decisions. Women brag about their trusted advisors and like to tell other women about them.
It is also critical to ask the right questions. In my initial meetings, I make it a point to use open ended questions, such as ‘What’s most important in your life right now?’ so I can learn more about what makes her who she is. Ask about their best and worst experiences with a financial advisor and what their financial situation was like growing up. Listening to her story is the first step in establishing a trusted relationship.
For our mature clients, the biggest concern is the increased cost of healthcare. We’re doing a lot of work to help women prepare for potential increases in healthcare costs. For baby boomer clients, retirement and making sure they have enough money to take care of themselves in the future are primary concerns. For younger women, the focus is often on educating their children. We have established relationships with younger women as a result of making their children’s college education a priority.
At the end of the day, what all three groups really want is more financial education. They don’t want or need to understand every tiny detail-but they do want to feel knowledgeable and confident about their decisions. They want to learn more about how investments fit into their lives, and I am thrilled to be able to help them do that.