Client Affairs

Exclusive Insight From GenSpring's 13th Annual Women's Retreat

Eliane Chavagnon, Editor - Family Wealth Report, May 12, 2014

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Family Wealth Report spoke to GenSpring executives Patricia Soldano and Carolann Grieve, co-chairs of the firm’s Women & Wealth Initiative, about some of the key themes flagged up in 2014.

Some 150 women recently gathered in South Carolina for GenSpring's 13th annual Women’s Retreat, uniting female clients ranging in age from 17 to 87 to discuss issues around preparing women for decisions on wealth management and the impact it will have - or is having - on their lives and family members.

Family Wealth Report spoke to GenSpring executives Patricia Soldano and Carolann Grieve, co-chairs of the firm’s Women & Wealth Initiative, about some of the key themes flagged up in 2014 and the topic of women in wealth management in general.

Given that women are set to control two-thirds of US consumer wealth within the next ten years, financial education tailored to this investor segment is a “critical component” of the role as a family office, Soldano said.

The concept is certainly not new to GenSpring - the first retreat having been held back in 1990 - but the event is an opportunity for the firm to focus on the emerging challenges that resonate with women - in a “welcoming environment.”

Many of the issues will always be critical - such as the importance of next-gen engagement and the role of women. But they are still very much high on the agenda, suggesting there is more scope for the industry to open up to these unique investor segments - particularly as the US continues its journey through the greatest transfer of wealth ever seen.

As an overview, GenSpring said five themes emerged during this year's retreat: the importance of effective family communication; enabling versus providing opportunity to next generation family members; the implications of equal versus unequal inheritance; best practices for communicating wealth transfer intentions; and the impact money has on relationships.

Lack of focus

“We think there has been a lack of focus for women inheriting or earning wealth, and while they need the same education as men, they may learn it a little differently,” Soldano said.

According to recent estimates from PricewaterhouseCoopers, some $41 trillion of wealth is currently moving down from the Baby Boomers to the millennium generation.

But going largely unnoticed is that this transfer of wealth is likely to go from husband to wife first, Carol Pepper of Pepper International said at the Family Wealth Report Summit this March.

“Mom is going to be the decision-maker for a while…we need to think about bringing in the wives of these patriarchs and getting them ready to be the matriarch of the family,” Pepper said.

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