The New Face of Finance

By Philip Porado | July 12, 2010 | Last updated on July 12, 2010
4 min read

When Natalie Jamison, an advisor with Jamison Family Wealth Management, RBC Dominion Securities, stepped in to succeed her father, she knew there would have to be some emphasis shift. She found the driver of that shift in women and entrepreneurs—two client categories that often intersect.

Natalie started a Women & Wealth newsletter in 2007, which now serves as a focal point for her work to move her advisory practice toward holistic planning for families, and in particular, women clients.

That transition is now complete, and she shares some of her thoughts about the needs of women and business owner clients, and ways the advisory experience can be improved for these growing demographics:

"Over the years of working in this partnership, I've dealt with a lot of female clients. A lot of women are interested in personal finance and want to take charge of their portfolios. But they can be intimidated by the industry. They want a boutique, not a financial supermarket. They want an experience, not a transaction."

"Women are managing family, children, community and career. Plus, they have a longer life expectancy but less pension contribution. All these factors made me realize I need to offer a high-end service that's just for them."

"My goal was to remove any level of intimidation they may have felt in managing their personal finances. I want to make sure women feel it's okay and come in and hire a professional. They'll hire a decorator but not a portfolio manager."

"It's the women who are opening the door to family wealth. It's the women who often hold the family purse and make 80% of the decisions about where the money is spent and invested. So this is how we're gaining new business."

"We're also seeing women who are the family breadwinners coming to us for planning. It used to be uncommon, but now we're seeing it more and more."

Investing with values "What I've also noticed in the last 18 months is that women are asking for more socially responsible and environmental investments. They are interested in their values and want to invest along the lines of what they hold dear."

"They're also interested in charitable giving. It's a fantastic opportunity to help them do something meaningful with their money and we're attracting high-end families because of that. Very often it's the women who open the doors to these conversations to happen in the first place."

"Women are more value-focused as opposed to performance- focused. We can get good performance and offer the socially responsible investments. We have SRI funds and socially responsible ETFs available. We also do socially responsible screening of individual stocks. We can address all the needs, from philanthropy and charitable giving to SRI."

"I really love that I can make a difference in someone's life. I get a lot of reward in the strength of the relationships I build. My clients stay with me for the long term. They've come to encompass me in their circle of trust and I really appreciate that."

Entrepreneurial edge "The women I serve in my practice are career women, women entrepreneurs, single mothers, widows; and the number of entrepreneurs is growing."

"Entrepreneurs are the engine of the economy, but women entrepreneurs are the fastest growing business segment in Canada. Canadian women own and manage more than 40% of all business in the country and are starting new ones at double the national average."

"Women are succeeding in a lot of non-traditional industries: film, oil and gas, etc. I have a client who's in retail maintenance—providing large retail chains throughout Canada with complete facilities maintenance. So they're interested in everything from how to create better cash flow to succession planning. And that's the kind of advice I'm giving them."

"The number of women-incorporated business has more than doubled since 2000. More than 800,000 women are self-employed in Canada and that's contributing $18 billion to the economy. The types of revenues these women are earning range from $250,000 to $500 million. But they don't have pensions and so they're very interested in planning."

"When an entrepreneur is successful, they're so focused on their business that they don't always have time to pay close attention to their finances. And that's why they can benefit from an advisor to help them succeed in their long-term goals and eventually have a succession plan and find someone who can buy the business. We can be a one-stop shop."

For more on Jamison's practice, please see "Celebrating Advice" on the last page of our June 2010 issue of Advisor's Edge.

Philip Porado