Building a Better Client Experience for Women Investors with Todd Fithian

Todd Fithian
Co-Founder & CEO - The Legacy Companies
January 11, 2023

Women are accumulating more and more wealth at a faster pace than ever before. Despite this, a recent study shows that women are still vastly underserved in the financial community.

Women are accumulating more and more wealth at a faster pace than ever before. Despite this, a recent study shows that women are still vastly underserved in the financial community.

In this episode of the FAST podcast, our featured guest is Todd Fithian, Co-Founder, and CEO of The Legacy Companies, a revolutionary training and coaching organization focused on advisor growth. Todd discusses the psychology and strategies of client relationship growth, specifically with women investors, and how advisors can grow their business by leveraging the changing marketplace. Todd shares how advisors can effectively engage with women clientele, remove gender stereotypes, and empower women to invest more confidently.

Todd and Lara discuss:

  • The impact women are making on the financial landscape
  • What advisors can do to create a more supportive environment for women
  • Why focusing on women clientele is essential to your business
  • And more!


Connect with Lara Galloway:

Connect with Todd:

About Todd:

Todd Fithian has nearly three decades of experience in the financial services industry. Following in the footsteps of three generations, Todd knew at an early age his calling was not only to work in the industry as an advisor but to work to improve it as well. A lifelong entrepreneur, Todd formed his own wealth advisory firm in Boston soon after graduating from college. In 1996 he joined forces with his late Brother Scott to form The Legacy Companies, an industry-leading training and coaching organization focused on advisor growth.

Today, as the CEO of Legacy, Todd provides the VISION and LEADERSHIP for his team. Under his direction, Legacy has revolutionized how advisors engage and serve their clients using Legacy’s trademarked approach that allows advisors to discover WHAT matters most to clients and WHY it’s important, before jumping into HOW to solve it. Fithian calls these Above the Horizon ConversationsTM and has trained and coached thousands of financial advisors across the United States and Canada in deploying these approaches to drive measurable growth.

Podcast Transcript

Voiceover: Welcome to the FAST Podcast, Financial Advisor Strategy Talks with Lara Galloway, SVP of Financial Education at White Glove. Lara provides advisors with an opportunity to hear from some of the best minds in the business, follow along to learn quick tips to help you grow your business. From gaining new leads, to keeping current clients engaged and everything in between.

Now onto the show.  

Aric Johnson: Hello, and welcome to the FAST Podcast with your host, Lara Galloway, from White Glove.  

Lara, how are you?

Lara Galloway: I am doing great, and I am so excited, Aric, for this podcast guest that we have today. With me today, I want to introduce Todd Fithian.  

Now Todd has nearly three decades of experience in the financial services industry. He formed his own wealth advisory firm in Boston soon after graduating from college. In 1990, he joined forces with his late brother Scott, and they co-founded their next venture called The Legacy [00:01:00] Companies, an industry-leading training and coaching organization focused on advisor growth.  

Now today, Todd, as the CEO of The Legacy Companies provides vision and leadership for his team under his direction.

Legacy has revolutionized how advisors engage and serve their clients. Todd has trained thousands of financial advisors across the US and Canada in deploying strategies that drive measurable growth.  

Todd, I am so happy to welcome you to the FAST podcast.

Todd Fithian: Thank you, Lara. It's a pleasure to be here with you today, and I'm excited to spend some time with you and your listeners.

Lara Galloway: Well, I would love for you to share a little bit about yourself. I gave your bio there, but I'd love for you just to share a little bit about what you're doing and how you're serving financial advisors.  

Todd Fithian: Yeah, absolutely. So, just a bit of background on Legacy. You know, this company was formed by advisors for advisors, and a lot of people find that interesting because my late brother Scott, as you mentioned, and [00:02:00] I never really set out to have a training coaching organization.

As we came into the business as third generation in our family, in the advisory world, we recognized early on, thankfully, that the teachings and the approaches that we were being taught we’re not really connecting well with our clients and weren't creating the kinds of results we wanted in our business.

And we were wise enough to really take a step back and think about how do we learn more about relationships and clients and interactions? How do we do things to really connect with people better, more powerfully? Today's talks are around behavioral finance and things of that nature, everybody's talking about it and doing it.

But we really went into the whole psychology world and relationship systems and family systems to really understand how relationships work. [00:03:00] And it was later after we began to apply some of these concepts and our own advisory practice really began to take off where others wanted us to kind of show them what it is we're doing in our own world.

So that's how Legacy was founded. So that’s a bit of our background and I’m excited to be here with you and your listeners today.  

Lara Galloway: Well, you just mentioned a few great terms that I love. You mentioned behavioral psychology, you mentioned some behavioral finance, you mentioned relationships.

These are the things that are so exciting for me because you and I have been connected Todd for a while on LinkedIn. It's been a few years, I think, and when I saw your post pop up in my feed recently about women and wealth, it knocked my socks off. As a woman in financial services, of course, this is something of huge interest to me.

Relationships aren't just for something that women are interested in. Clearly as you're talking about, you're working at [00:04:00] this, at Legacy, helping all financial advisors learn how to leverage some of these tenets that psychology teaches us about building relationships. And you hear everybody out in the financial world saying, it's all about relationships, and that is so true.

But what hit me in your post was so poignant when you shared some statistics, which I have written down. I just want to go over a couple of them if you don't mind.  

Todd Fithian: Sure. We can kind of kick off the conversation from there.  

Lara Galloway: So, a new study, this is what your post that really grabbed my attention was about.  

It says a new study shows that women are still highly underserved by financial advisors. It said that from 2016 to 2020, women's wealth in the US and Canada grew 180% faster than men. Wow. Staggering. And where did this money come from? 180% faster than men's wealth.

People whose money grows fast need help, they need a financial advisor.

Here's another one. [00:05:00] Women, however, invested 22% less of that wealth in financial products than men. Interesting. And 30% more women than men want to receive advice in person. This is powerful, especially in this day and age.  

And now that we're opening back up post Covid, I mean, oh, this is good.

And 65% of the women who do invest would pay a 20% premium for high quality advice. So, I know there are a lot more stats out there, and you've got some that you're going to share with us, Todd, but let's just go ahead and jump into the conversation today.

Why should every advisor listening today be interested in a conversation about women?

Todd Fithian: I mean, just listen to the numbers that you shared and the statistics. And I'm going to build upon that a little bit more. But I'm reminded [00:06:00] unfortunately, weekly how underserved, and how under engaged the women marketplace is.

And I'm having conversations regularly with advisors across the country and reminding them how they're engaging and who they're engaging with and who are the voices that they're bringing into these discussions.  

And what I still find in many of those conversations is that historically the men were the bread winners, right?

They were the high-income earners. You look at the statistics I shared in that post, and I'm going to share some more here today because it's only going to get bigger. But while the wealth is shifting, while the income earning is shifting, advisor practices are not shifting.

So, your advisors, whether men are women [00:07:00] that are listening in here today, there's something to be learned for everybody. And it's important that you involve everybody in these discussions. So just to build upon these statistics, this gets even more exciting. By the end of this decade, the current decade that we're in, women are going to control more than 30 trillion dollars.

And right now, women are increasing their wealth by 5 trillion annually. Women are founders and co-founders of more businesses that are billion dollar plus revenue producing businesses.

Okay. Those are big numbers, huge numbers. When I was kind of pulling some of this together to think about what I wanted to [00:08:00] share with you in the group today it's important to note that the opportunities all just trickle down. We don't need to be dealing with these trillion dollar and multimillion dollar numbers to have an impact and to have opportunity.

If I'm an advisor, is this a market I should serve? There's lots of opportunity behind these large numbers. And when you think about 30 trillion at the end of this decade, being controlled by women, that's wealth.

We’ve seen the medical advancements and we've seen the statistics and actuarial evidence that women are outliving men. And a lot of this wealth is coming through inheritance or at the death of a spouse. Right, and the other thing that I find interesting about this is more women than men are getting advanced college degrees.

There's a trend, there's a trajectory. We absolutely must pay attention to this. It's critical that we involve everybody [00:09:00] in the discussions, everybody at the planning table. It’s absolutely critical.  

Lara Galloway: Well, you just made a really great point. You said that the demographics of wealth are shifting, but financial advisor practices are not.

So obviously we've got a gap there that we've got to avoid. And what ways would you suggest that financial advisors need to change to connect with women investors?  

Todd Fithian: I would say a couple of things. First and foremost is you have got to make them part of the process. I can't tell you how many times, Lara, and I'm sure you've heard this in your career, I can't tell you how many phone calls that I've had over my time in doing this, where an advisor has called me up and my client has passed away, and I can't get their spouse on the phone.

I said, let's just stop right now. Let's just stop and let's break down what you just said. My client has passed away. Okay. My client's [00:10:00] passed away while his spouse is still living, and you can't get her to call you to return your phone call.

Well, that’s likely that she doesn’t see you as her advisor, because she’s never been a part of that relationship. So, it's critical you have to make them a part of the process from the beginning. You have to demand it. I have advisors who tell me all the time that my clients are busy. My wife is going to do everything I say that we should do anyways, so let's just proceed forward.

I think it's not enough. I think you have to make a mandate that this is how my process works and include them in the process. Create an environment where they get to participate, share, and ask questions. You’ve got to create an environment. You know, we've all had a coach, a teacher, a professor, a mentor, a parent that's said to us at one point in time. Hey, you know what, Lara? There are no silly questions here, right? There's nothing You can't ask. Everything's fair game.

And when we do that and we believe [00:11:00] that, we'll ask anything. Right. We need to create those environments, give people a safe place to learn and to educate, build their confidence and trust.

For sure. Listen, right when you go back to a lot of the other statistics is you've got to listen, but not listen to solve. Which is hard to do and delineate, but it's to listen, to learn. Never assume that they don't want to learn and be educated. I hear that a lot in my work that advisors don't really talk to me about this stuff because either they think it's over my head or I don't really want to learn, but I want to learn.

So don't assume. Educate them and let them in and make them feel comfortable. Those are some of the last couple things I'll say is that women value advice and more importantly, women are willing to pay.

You talked about 20% premium. [00:12:00] Women are willing to pay for that advice where they perceive and receive value. I'd think about how we're engaging, how we're engaging with them and making them feel comfortable and confident and really honing in on our listening skills.

Lara Galloway: Well, you were saying, really bringing them into the conversation and not assuming, that's so brilliant. Not assuming even if the husband is saying oh, she's going to do whatever, or she's not interested, just pushing past that.

I know you guys are going to have some discussions in your family boardroom at some point about finances. But if we are all breathing the same air and talking, that's going to look a lot different if we can all get here together rather than being the go-between.

But I think you hit a couple of things that I was going to ask about. [00:13:00] For advisors who are embracing this and nodding their heads and going, yeah, yeah, yeah. I should do that. What are some of the mistakes that you're seeing these advisors who do take it on, who say, yeah, I want to get a part of this, I do want to be a part of this.

What are some of the mistakes that advisors are making when they are speaking to women investors?

Todd Fithian: Here's what I'd say, I mentioned this a little bit earlier about our work and kind of the study of relationships and people and I think it's critical in the fact that this is what I think women are looking for in a relationship with their advisor.

So, I think we need to look at our approaches. We need to look at our vernacular. We need to look at how we run and organize and manage meetings and time. I often tell advisors, picture a fly sitting in the corner of the room and you're meeting [00:14:00] with a couple or an individual for the first time ever.

Like, what's the true percentage of time that you spent talking versus listening? It's a tough thing to reflect and be real about that. But these are the types of things you need to shift. You have to be more qualitative; you have to be more discerning, right? When you create an environment where people feel safe and feel like it's okay to talk and open up and share.

Lara Galloway: I will tell you right now, these are the types of relationships and connections that they want and will move closer and closer to. So being more discerning, being more empathetic, being a better listener, and really giving them an opportunity to learn and be educated. Just like men have for all of these years, they should have that same opportunity and same level of care.

I remember my coach, the first time I ever heard this was a long time ago, but my coach said, yeah, one [00:15:00] mouth, two ears, right? So, the proportion of time you should spend speaking versus listening, you know? There's a reason for that. That's such a good point.

Up to this point, we've kind of been talking about the way to reach these women investors is to bring them into the conversation in the existing relationships that you already have with your male investors, right? So, bring in the partner, bring in that spouse. But Todd, what are some other ways that advisors can get in front of these female investors just directly?

What do you recommend to your clients?  

Todd Fithian: One of the things we do a lot of work on is the concept of defining a niche. Hopefully, your listeners are going to hear right loud and clear what we're talking about here, what's happening in wealth in the United States and things of that nature.

This is an exciting place to be spending time. So, when you start to think about a niche, I've had advisors, Lara, that have called me up. [00:16:00] Men have called me up and say, I connect really well with women. Women trust me, and they're going down that path to pursue that.

So, one way for sure is get really clear and intentional about this being a market you want to serve and a niche that you want to serve. That's one way, and I think quite frankly, I think it's the best way if it's just a part of a bigger strategy. What I'd say is giving them opportunities and ways to connect.

I see advisors making great communities for women in business, right? Socially creating social networks where they can come together and just create environments where they can learn and see from each other. Business leaders is a way that I've seen work well. And then the last thing that I'll say, and I've had probably a dozen advisors do this over the years, men, and women, creating in investment groups where really you just create an environment where they can come together, and they can learn and you [00:17:00] can bring in portfolio managers to talk to them and educate them or economists or do some things yourself. But really, what I hear and find over time is that they just want a place to come together and talk and share about what's going on in their own world.

So, I think that those are some unique ways to think about how I connect and engage with them. Being more empathetic, being more listening based, and things of that nature are only going to help with the entire process or strategy.

Lara Galloway: Well, I love what you just shared, like cultivating a set of services and offerings that you can bring into your company, I mean like you can post it on your website. We're doing a women and wealth investing group. That's fantastic. I mean even if that's not your whole niche, that's a fabulous service.

That any advisor listening today could start inviting people into a monthly round table or [00:18:00] a monthly webinar series that you do. These are things that don't cost any money, take very little to set up and get started, and are a great opportunity for you to connect with those people.

So, I love that. Todd, I do have to throw in a shameless plug here for White Glove because we've just launched a new topic and you talk about getting in front of people. Everything you suggested I think is fantastic, but also at White Glove, we put people in front of their public, right at the community centers, public libraries, and community colleges.

One of our new topics is Women and Wealth, and we're calling it an early access program. We're debuting some new topics that we're doing, and if any of our advisors are listening today and trying to figure out how do I get in front of this if I want to try to test drive it, try out a public workshop with us.

See if we can get you in front of these people, and then follow up on some of the stuff Todd's saying here about that behavioral finance stuff. The psychology of being warm and empathetic and listening and working to make [00:19:00] that a safe place for people to talk to you a little bit about their goals and concerns.

So, forgive me for the shameless plug there, but workshops are such a great tool for educating and reaching people.  

I think it's a great opportunity for everyone. So, I do have one more question, I just have to ask this. It's the elephant in the room, Todd.

Is it possible for male advisors to make good, powerful connections with women investors? Or is that something just better left to women advisors to do?  

Todd Fithian: Well, the women advisors and we actually have a fair share of them, and it's probably based upon the type of work that we do and how we teach.

Right? Very qualitative, very relationship focused. But I will tell you, yeah. I mean, most men are going to have a challenge competing against women going after a women marketplace [00:20:00] because it's kind of, women have different factory installed skills and equipment than men do.

And they're better listeners. They're better at relationships, they're more empathetic, they're more caring and in all those ways. So, I mean, they're going to have a leg up. But the reality is, and I said this earlier, I have men calling me that are advisors with great practices who are like my women clients love me, and actually that's who I want to serve.

And so again, whether you're trying to pursue an opportunity or it's really something that feels authentic and real to you that matters, and you have to get clear on that. But if you're going to just deploy a strategy to really try to capture an opportunity that we're sharing with you here today, think about your approaches.

Think about who you're engaging with, right? Think about not only the success and the opportunity of wealth that's being created or there in front of you. How do I engage differently [00:21:00] maybe than I have previously. Right? Again, it's repetitive in what I've said, but being more empathetic, being more engaging, being a better listener, and you can have amazing success there, but women are going to give you a challenge in going after that same marketplace.

Lara Galloway: I appreciate that. I think that's an honest answer, but yet it's not discouraging because again, for anybody listening to this, whether or not you want to target women, that factory settings that says, we are all these things that you just explained, and that's how we need to be related to.

I think a lot of this can work in lots of relationships with male investors just as well. So, you know, to limit it to just one, like we are making some pretty sweeping, maybe stereotypical comments here in order to help give a big aggregate point rather than a pinpointed one. So, [00:22:00] can I just add to that because thank you for saying that our work that we do in all this relationship work and how to engage, it's very much pro prospect agnostic.  

It doesn't really come into consideration. I just think I have seen historically that women associate with it and are drawn to it quicker and faster. But thank you for making that point because you're absolutely right.

This applies to all client relationships. Absolutely. I mean that's the whole behavioral finance movement, right? Understanding some of these emotional triggers, understanding what causes certain things to happen in a relationship that relates to financial decisions. And that's human.

That's very human. We're just calling out some things that we know you need to sharpen your sword on if you're going to be working with a typically targeted female audience. And I think that [00:23:00] we've given the carrot, we've given suggestions on how to help these guys that do want to get into it, but maybe aren't quite sure how to execute some of the suggestions that we've given.  

So, I do want to ask you to share a little bit of information about how we can reach out and find out and connect with you more. But before I do that, I want to ask you one final question that we always ask. We have a defining success segment at the end of every episode, and I'd just like to ask each of our guests how do you define success? What does that look like for you?  

Todd Fithian: Wow. I would say my why and what gets me up every single morning is one word, it's impact. That's the thing that gets me up every day. My late brother 16 years ago passed and before he passed, we had this amazing celebration of life for him.

Rob was amazing. [00:24:00] And one of our advisor clients stood up and spoke because he wanted to share something compelling. And what he stood up and showed was the impact we had in helping him in his approaches and the way that he was serving and engaging with clients. The multiplier effect that it's had on all the families he's been able to serve and the generations.

Like, that's why we do what we do at Legacy. We're a business, we're for-profit. We want to be successful on those aspects too. But our why is about impact. We want to influence and change and evolve this industry. And that's the best way I could put it. We want to be known for our impact here.

Lara Galloway: Well, I certainly think you're doing it, sir. I mean, just your post and our connection caused me to reach out to you, caused us to have this conversation and I hope it causes someone to take action and to find a way to tap into their why and reach out and help more [00:25:00] people make great financial decisions.

I know that's going to happen. So, Todd. It has just been a pleasure talking with you and I would love it if you would leave us with a way for us to find out how we can work more with you or connect with you if there are those out there who truly want to take you up on some of these ideas.  

Todd Fithian: Yeah, for sure.

And our website's probably the easiest way, which is just www.think-legacy.com. And if you put Todd in front of that, you'll get to me, and I would love to have conversations. So, if we can help in any way, thanks for letting me share today, and this is a passion of ours and, we want to help in any way in which we can help your listeners, we would love to.  

So, thank you.  

Aric Johnson: We appreciate that, Todd. Thank you for listening to the FAST Podcast, Financial Advisor Strategy Talks with Lara Galloway, your go-to source designed to help you grow your business. Have questions about the topics covered during the show?

Visit our website at www.whiteglove.com or email us at info@whiteglove.com. Don’t forget to click the follow button to be notified when new episodes become available. The information covered and posted represents the views and opinions of the guests and does not necessarily represent the views and opinions of White Glove.

The content has been made available for informational and educational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional investing advice. Always seek the advice of your financial advisor or other qualified financial services provider with any questions you may have regarding your investment planning

background elementbackground element

About the
FAST Podcast

We see the podcast as an effective tool to help advisors grow and continue their education by delivering valuable tips from some of the top minds in the industry.

Here at White Glove, we recognize that time is every advisor's most precious resource, which is why the episodes are presented in a quick, interview-style format, making advisor education convenient, portable, and on-demand.

financial advisor working with clients


Our Done-for-You workshops allow you to focus on what you do best – advising your clients!

White Glove is truly Done-for-You. We book and manage your venue, we fill the room with leads, we track and report stats, we do all the heavy lifting.

With our performance-based pricing, you can relax – Pay after your event and only for those who attend.