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News Article : Widows a latent threat to every adviser's business
Category: Reviews : Book Reviews
Author:Carol Dundas
Email:[email protected]
Posted:04 Aug 2011

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Manage your Money, Live your Dream - helping women achieve financial wellbeing

The biggest long-term threat to an adviser's business may not be a market collapse, stringent regulation or rapidly rising costs.

The latent, largely unrecognised danger could turn out to be the future widows of current clients.

The 'widow alert' has been sounded by Sunél Veldtman (Picture right), author and presenter of a popular series of workshops to help women achieve financial wellbeing.

Veldtman canvasses women's opinions on a wide range of subjects. A key issue, she says, is the lack of rapport many women feel for financial advisers, specifically those working for their husbands.

International experience supports local feedback.

Research quoted in the New York Times recently stated that 70% of widows fire their financial professionals within the first year of widowhood.

As women generally live longer than men, advisers dealing with married men know they may one day be called on to help their widows.

This represents a major opportunity.

The world's biggest transfer of wealth is expected in the coming years as wealth-builders from the Baby Boomer generation pass on. The opportunity could be wasted if recent widows quickly sack the financial professionals they 'inherited' from their loved ones.

"A seven-out-of-10 probability of the sack by a grieving widow is worrying," says Veldtman. "If that happens on a large scale, an adviser's business could be threatened.

"Another concern is the time invested in building client relationships on the assumption that the adviser's firm would assist at all life stages and then into the period following a client's death

"Steps have to be taken to manage these risks and optimise these opportunities."

Veldtman is author of 'Manage your Money, Live your Dream'. Research while working on the financial-planning-for-women book confirmed that women rarely participate in financial planning sessions involving their husbands and their advisers.

Veldtman believes proactive engagement with wives will help drive a key practice-building imperative - 'widow retention'. Family focus is key.

She explains: "Women live longer. They should therefore become more involved in their family's financial affairs since they are more likely to suffer if their affairs are not managed properly. We should insist on it as we are then likely to retain the relationship.

"We should focus on the family and not only the man. Pay attention to the woman and you may keep her as a client."

Feedback at women's workshops indicates that many women 'don't trust their financial advisers' or 'lack rapport'.

"Women love their hairdressers, therapists and beauticians - why don't they like their financial advisers?" asks Veldtman.

"Women want connection. They want to be heard and feel valued. They want to be treated with empathy. They don't want to be patronised, overwhelmed by sales talk or talked down to.

"Ensure growing empathy and you could ensure a growing business. Your growth strategy could be as simple as that."

" 'Manage your Money, Live your Dream' by Sunél Veldtman is published by Tafelberg and available from good bookshops nationwide.

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