MASTERCLASS: Women in the Financial Services Industry

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  • 58 mins 50 secs
Women play a critical role in the success of the financial services industry, and several leading firms are working on best practices for bolstering diversity and inclusion initiatives. This Masterclass discussion takes a closer look at how to support the growth and advancement of women, as well as how to best serve female clients.

Four leaders share their advice, observations, and personal journeys in the industry:

  • Tracy Fraser, Director of Business Development and the Financial Institutions Group at Transamerica
  • Suzanne Norman, Principal and Senior Director at Milliman
  • Suzanne Siracuse, Founder/CEO Suzanne Siracuse Consulting Services
  • Candice Tse, Managing Director, US Head of Market Strategies at Goldman Sachs



Suzanne Siracuse: Hi. I'm Suzanne Siracuse, CEO Suzanne Siracuse Consulting Services and welcome to Asset TV's, women leaders panel. Our panelists today hold top leadership roles at some of the financial industries leading firms. But that is still the exception rather than the norm. The panel will discuss their journey supply best practices on working with and serving women as clients and discuss how supporting the growth and advancement of women in the financial services' industry is critical for our industry's overall success. I'm excited to introduce today's panelists and first up, Tracy Fraser, Director of Business Development and the Financial Institutions Group at Transamerica, Suzanne Norman, Principal and Senior Director at Milliman, Candice Tse, Managing Director, US Head of Market Strategies at Goldman Sachs.

Thank you all for being here today and welcome. Thank you for having us. So, I would like to really kick us off first with you all talking a little bit about your roles, what you do and what attracted you to the financial services industry to begin with. Suzanne, I'd love to start with you.

Suzanne Norman: Sure. Thanks Suzanne. I am a Principal and Senior Sirector you said with Milliman's financial risk management group. I head up our strategic relationship role and that really includes working with our institutional clients like Transamerica and developing new lines of business, working with our actuaries and our quantitative analysts. Milliman financial risk management group is one of the leading firms hedging risk and the retirement savings' industry. We hedge about $150 billion, $52 billions of which is in sub advisory funds. VIT, CITs and I often will explain this because people don't necessarily see us advertised. We're behind the curtain. And one of the things that we really think about as our mission every day is how will we help people provide for themselves when they no longer work. But I love to tell the story about how I got into the business.

Suzanne Siracuse: Great, we want to hear.

Suzanne Norman: Thank you. I say it was sort of on purpose by accident. And what I mean by that is that I have a degree in psychology and after I finished my degree, I actually went back and I got another degree in photography and I realized that the starving artist route was a little, it was causing me some concerns. So, I took a temp job and it was at a brokerage firm and after a couple of days the advisor that I worked with who was a woman said, " Have you ever thought about being in this business? You're a natural". And after about a week I said, 'why not?' And they gave me about a month to pass my series seven, which I did. One of the things that I know we'll talk about today that was very important to me in joining this industry was that as I mentioned, the advisor I supported was a woman. The manager in the brokerage firm was a woman and it just didn't feel different. It felt that with the top performers being women, that if you could see it, you can be it. And it felt very welcoming.

Suzanne Siracuse: That's great. And that was very unusual at the time.

Suzanne Norman: It was in 1992.

Suzanne Siracuse: That was a very, very unusual. So, well great. Well thank you again for being here. Thank you. Tracy.

Tracy Fraser: Sure. So, I currently work on a two teams at Transamerica. One is our Business Development Group, and another is our Financial Institutions Group. And we basically work with many of our strategic partners at a very high level, finding additional growth opportunities for our respective firms. And I also support a lot of the activities within our sales team. My path in getting to Transamerica is very similar to Suzanne. Sort of, I have a degree in animal science. I wanted to be a large animal veterinarian, to which I obviously did not go to vet school. I happened to be organizing a program to where I had the opportunity to meet a lot of senior executives that actually worked for our parent company Aegon and I was asked if I wanted to come on board. They said they just needed someone in the area, and they thought I could do it.

And so, I was given the opportunity. It was a big leap and very similar to your role. It was a woman that hired me and at the time the division that she was running was also just 14 women. And so, I thought, okay, I'm going to do it. And this was back in 1995. So, I sort of fell into the industry backwards. But what I love about it is, you're really there to help people. Everything, all of our actions on that everything we do, every day ultimately leads to helping the end user, our client to have a successful retirement.

Suzanne Siracuse: That's great. I couldn't agree more. And it's so interesting that you both had the same very similar experiences of getting into the business. That's great. Thank you, guys. And Candace.

Candice Tse: So my name is Candice Tse. I'm the US Head of Market Strategy within Goldman Sachs asset management and my team and I research and analyze the macro economy and markets. So, we publish quite frequently, weekly, monthly, quarterly and we cover all different topics ranging from GDP growth to inflation to politics. And we cover all asset classes from equity, fixed income, currencies to commodities. My journey here started straight out of school. I graduated from Rutgers university undergrad and I was hired into Goldman Sachs thinking that if I didn't like it, I could leave. If I was really bad at it, they would fire me. And 20 years later I am still here. So, my favorite part of the industry, what attracted me and what continues to attract me is really the fact that this is a business, particularly my role that enables me and my team to research all that is in the macro economy, the markets plus any themes that clients are interested in.

So, for example, this year we cover everything from youth curve inversion to ESG and impact investing all the way through to things like crypto currency and blockchain. Like those are all topical and top of mind. So, for me the best part is being able to research all of these themes, translate the complex markets into understandable, simple English that normal investors can understand. And then also get to really partner with clients and figure out what they need. Not just tell them about the weather but help them dress for it. And last but not least, I love meeting with our clients, getting to know them and understand what it is that they truly need for their portfolios or their investments.

Suzanne Siracuse: Great. So, one of the things we really wanted to focus on first and foremost is the growing power of the female investor. So, to set the stage, I wanted to share some staggering statistics with you and why financial advisors should really start to focus on the best way to serve this important group.

There are almost 76 million women in the US that participate in the workforce. Women are expected to control $22 trillion of the wealth in the US today. Women are earning more masters, doctorates and undergraduate degrees than their male counterparts. And two thirds of women identify as the household primary decision maker. Pretty impressive. So, let's talk about ideas and best practices around truly serving female investors. First and foremost, not all women are the same. So, advisors should not treat them all the same. So, I'd love to start with you Candace, because you started a fabulous program at Goldman called “Empower.” Can you talk about what that is and how it really is focused on a customized approach?

Candice Tse: Sure. So, in my time at Goldman Sachs, I have the great fortune of traveling across the country and meeting with our clients and investors. And what I found that when I met with a lot of female investors, particularly those not in finance, so they could be successful doctors, lawyers, accountants, stay at home, moms, widows, divorcees.

What I noticed was many of these female investors really didn't care about what I had to say about the macro economy or the markets. And what I come to realize is that the reason why they didn't really care or seem to care is because many of them tended to lack a little confidence when it came to investing. So that's how I went about and created a framework called Empower the female investor. Where, “Empower” is really just a mnemonic. So, every letter of the word that's seven letters of the word represent a step and each step helps a female investor get closer towards financial success and empowerment. Just to give you a quick glimpse of what empower stands for, basically you start off with the first step E, which is evaluating your situation. Why are we all working so hard? What is it that we want to do with our money?

You need to understand that first and foremost. And then the second step is managing your future. Basically, taking a look at your portfolio of assets and liabilities, building a balance sheet, building an income statement. So, at the end of every month you actually know how much is coming in and out of your account. And that sets you up for the next step, which is P, planning for your future. And we teach about the beautiful power of compounding. Invest early, invest often, and also to diversify your portfolio. So, then we get to step four, which is own and protect your assets because you've worked so hard. And we teach them the power of tax efficiency. We teach them the documents that every person should have to save all these assets they've created. And at this point, most of the investors that I speak to, have their eyes rolling back in their heads, there's steam coming out of their ears. Because I've just reminded them of the very things that they know they should be doing but might not.

Then that's where step five comes in. And this is the important part. I'm not a financial advisor. I write in, I publish on research about the markets, but there are many great financial advisors that are trained to do this for you. So, we don't have to do it ourselves. The way we look up on WebMD, if we have a cold or flu, you can actually hire someone to do this. But the next step, step six, is you need to stay educated. You can't just hire someone and think you're done. You need to educate yourself so that when there's some tweet that comes out or some headline news that comes out across the television set, you're not picking up the phone and calling your advisor to ask them to liquidate your portfolio at exactly the wrong time for the wrong reason.

And then the last step is R, review your portfolio, because what we do know is things change. You have a new job, you get married, you get higher, you get fired. So, it's important to review it regularly. Every once a year, twice a year, or even three or four times a year.

Suzanne Siracuse: That's fascinating and kudos to you for developing something like that. I'm curious, since you're a research guru, were there any solutions or interesting things that came out of that around product selection or offering?

Candice Tse: Yes. What we found is that a lot of female investors and even millennial and gen Z investors are a highly interested in doing good and doing well. So ESG and impact investing, which stands for Environmental Social Governance, has become a very hot topic for our clients. So, for those advisors who are not focused on their female clients, and they're strictly focused on their male clients, research shows that women tend to live longer than men. If you're not focused on your female client over 60% of the time, within a year of their male spouses passing away, the female client will actually fire the advisor and go somewhere else. So, if you're not talking about the themes that resonate with the female investor like ESG and impact investing, perhaps you should start looking into it because they really do care.

Suzanne Siracuse: That's great advice. And I think that's a theme that I've heard throughout how... That's a great door opener too for an advisor to, to ask their female clients if they're interested in learning more about ESG.

Candice Tse: Exactly.

Suzanne Siracuse: So that's great. Wonderful. Thank you. Now Tracy, how can an advisor really tailor their communication and solutions to best speak to women during their various life stages?

Tracy Fraser: So first of all, I love the of “Empower”. That's fantastic because, I think, keeping each of those steps in mind will certainly get female investors, more involved. The question then becomes when they're sitting with the advisor that they have chosen to do work with and help them understand things, is getting the advisor to get the female, typically they're going to be with a husband and wife but get the wife to talk about what is important to them. And I've had personal experiences but also with my friends. When, I talked to them about what they're doing because they asked me because like you do this right? And you are in the industry but to help you out. It's really answering a lot of basic questions. What keeps you as the wife, as the mom, what keeps you up at night? And so just getting them to provide examples of, getting the advisor to ask the spouse, the wife, what does keep you up at night?

What do you worry most about? Do you want guaranteed income? Are you worried about healthcare costs? Are you worried about retirement? Are you worried about education? Go a little deeper. Do you know what you're spending each month? Do you know what you're going to need to live on in retirement? And start to answer those questions from the spouse's point of view, that will one, help the advisor begin to develop more of the rapport and the relationship with the female spouse. Because what you want to do obviously is, should they find themselves to be single, widowed, keeping the relationship and, keeping the overall family relationship with them. And by asking all of these detailed questions, you'll eventually find the best solutions to fit both, both spouses. So, what I recommend to advisors is when you're meeting with your female clients, get them to open up, get them to start talking, and then as you are building a customized portfolio for them, hopefully you can tailor those solutions to meet the needs of both spouses.

Suzanne Siracuse: That's great. I know in a lot of the research that I've seen over the years is that, women really want to be understood for their unique set of circumstances. They want to be listened to, and I think by using open ended questions like you're suggesting will really help set the stage and provide the advisor with some really good insight into what's important to her. So, thank you for sharing that. Suzanne. I know we heard, Candice said this up great that, women on average live longer than their male counterparts, which poses a unique set of retirement challenges. It's great, but there's also challenges that go along with that. Can you discuss what some of those are as well as some possible solutions?

Suzanne Norman: Sure. Thanks Suzanne. Working for Milliman as an actuarial consulting firm. We have various practices with specialties. We have a healthcare practice that spends quite a lot of time analyzing the claims' data. And one of the things we just wrote a paper that we'll be publishing shortly, and longevity is the good news, bad news. So, we will live longer and statistically we will spend more money as we age as women. But one of the things that I think about, and Tracy alluded to it is the long-term care needs of women. One of the things that we've looked at is that only 10% more of claims with long-term care guidelines we've looked at, will actually be triggered by women. However, it's the stay duration. So, if we look at women staying in an assisted living or a nursing home, they're likely to stay 50% more long longer than men.

And one of the challenges we also look at is home care. Because a lot of people say they'd like to stay at home, 30% longer stays for that home care. And if we're looking at women under age 75 it's a 60% longer stay in assisted living. So, the cost is higher. Another cost that we looked at are our health care guidelines look at is what it will cost out of pocket for Medicare. And this is one of the things that maybe investors that haven't worked closely with an advisor that's schooled in these costs may not recognize, but there is a lot of out of pocket costs, 25% higher for women. So, what we'll estimate back to longevity is we live longer and once you file for Medicare, when we look at the out-of-pocket drug costs, 20% higher means 531,000 on average versus 417,000 for men. So, these are numbers that are very startling for a lot of investors if they haven't, again worked with an advisor to give them a true sense of that cost, but those are the things that we look at related to the longevity issue, the good news, the bad news.

Suzanne Siracuse: Yeah. That's a huge, huge issue. I know Tracy, you had some ideas on some solutions again to address some of those.

Tracy Fraser: Yeah. So, when you're getting the female investor to really open up about what it is, she's worried about, it's also good to run through what if scenarios. So, what if a job was lost or what if you became single and how do you maintain what you have right now? And that will help the advisor in working with the couple, get to really what are the essential expenses and all of our advisors have plenty of tools to utilize and but it gets down to product allocation, really finding the best long-term care policy, the best disability income policy or a product that would provide a guaranteed income with the growth potential. Whatever it is that both spouses need. But getting the female investor to talk and running through the what if scenarios will help our financial advisors really fine tune what would be the best products to use going forward.

Suzanne Siracuse: And isn't that the ultimate goal, right? Of what an advisor... All of the different things that you and your firms offer are really able to help advisors provide the best advice, which again, ultimate goal. So, I'd love to switch gears and really talk about women advisors and the need for more diversity in the financial advice profession. There are still only two out of 10 advisors that are women and even few that are owners or partners at advisory firms. And while certainly not all female investors want to work with female advisors, there just does seem to be a need for more women coming into the industry to serve the changing landscape of the future investor as well as the move into this holistic financial planning aspect. So, I'd love for each of you to tell me a little bit about why you think it's critical for diversity and especially inclusion to be a core value that firms offer now in order for them to attract the next generation of top talent to their firms. So, Suzanne, I'd love to kick it off with you.

Suzanne Norman: Sure. I think we're all expressing the fact that, that we got into this business and love it. And one of the things that I find in the years that I've been talking to female investors, at public seminars, just friends and family is that, we can demystify it. I think a lot of times when we're very kind of honest about the fact that you know you, you can be curious and learn as you go through these phases of... It's always a journey in our business. It's always changing, and I think the diversity inclusion I mentioned before, if you can see it you can be it and I think that's very important for firms to recognize. One of the other things that we were chatting about I think before today was that there are economic aspects that are very good for firms. The wall street journal just published a study on October this year talking about the S&P 500 companies and the 20 most diverse and what that means to the balance sheet.

And one of the things that I thought was very interesting to compare them to the firms of the 20 least diverse was what that looked like for operating profits as well as the share price of the stock. And the thing that I think most people might be compelled by in our business is beyond women wanting to get into this to help others, as Tracy said, and really do good. As Candice said, have impact investing is that when firms support that diversity inclusion culture, it can be very good for their returns and their shareholder returns. I'll read some numbers too, if you like.

Suzanne Siracuse: That would be great. That would be great.

Suzanne Norman: It's a new, it's a new report that came out in October, but what I thought was interesting in this is, they tracked the five-year performance of the share price and what they saw is the 20 most diversified companies had an average annual return of 12% excuse me, 10% versus %4.2

Suzanne Siracuse: It's a pretty big spread.

Suzanne Norman: For the 20 least diverse. Over 10 years it narrowed a little bit where you saw a 14% for the 20 most diverse versus 12% for the least, but I think comparing that to the S&P 500 where we're looking at the return at 14% for that 10 year number, the more diverse you are, the closer you are to that number.

Suzanne Siracuse: Yeah, I think it's really, there's so much research, not just from that report, but I know many, there's been many articles written about it that having more diverse teams really leads to better financial performance, both short and long-term value creation of the firm, so that's great. Thanks for sharing those numbers.

Candice let's move to you. What are your feelings around D&I?

Candice Tse: Diversity and Inclusion is very important to my firm. It's actually a huge focus at our firm. I'll give you an example. David Solomon is our new CEO. He's been in place now in this new position for over a year, but what I do remember most is when he actually took this new seat, he came out and said immediately by the year 2021 and he set all these new goals for our firm. By the year 2021 we will have 50% of our entering analysts as female. And it's not a far cry from where we are today, but I think it's highly important because, within this industry, as we all know, it is still quite male dominated. So just setting the groundwork and really trying to hire as many females as we can at the entry level can hopefully later down the road ensure that we do have the pipeline of leaders to promote throughout the firm, thereafter.

So, that's one program he's implemented. More recently we've had a new maternity, paternity leave policy where every employee of the firm gets five months off, and that's amazing. So, it's just a testament to the focus of being a more diverse firm being a more inclusive firm, but also the fact that this is just some of the things that we do for our employees. But from the inclusion and diversity aspect outside of the firm, we've really invested our time and money in a program called 10,000 women and 10,000 small businesses.

In 2008 and 2010 we started these programs to help female entrepreneurs in the emerging markets, providing them with over 160 hours of a free MBA like curriculum. And many of these women are entrepreneurs mainly because they can't find work in the countries where they reside because in some countries culturally it's not okay for a female to be working. So, they employ themselves by creating their own businesses. So, we bring these women in, we train them. Independent organizations and colleges have followed our graduates about 18 months after graduation. And what they found is that about 70% of our graduates say they increase revenues 18 month after this program, and the average that they increase their revenues by is over 480% that's a huge number. It's huge, but that's not even the best part. The best part is nine out of 10 of our graduates go on and mentor other female entrepreneurs.

So that's the multiplying effect you get from investing in women. And these are just some of the programs that we have implemented across our firm to help employees, but also to help folks outside of the firm and really just invest in women and increase diversity across the globe.

Suzanne Siracuse: Well, let me tell you, I think that's fabulous. Kudos to Goldman for that. And the 10,000 video that you alluded to, I actually seen several of those videos. They're amazing. And I would suggest that if you haven't seen them, go on Google and look it up. It's... They're just so inspiring and it's really a great program. So, congratulations. I also love that your CEO is the one front and center introducing these programs. One of the biggest things that you hear is that from younger people is that they want to see the leaders really expressing interest in this, and not just talking the talk but walking the walk. So, I think that's just a really important area to really continue to build upon. So that's great. Great programs. So, Suzanne isn't Milliman introducing a new D&I initiative and would you like to kind of tell us what that's about

Suzanne Norman: Sure, yes. We, we're a private firm and we still feel very, very committed to having a modern workplace. And so, this year we began a diversity inclusion initiative. One of the things we've seen happen so far is, we have an adjustment to our mission statement, which will be hopefully voted on by the board and... This month. And we've also adopted pronouns to our signature lines and meetings. So, it's been very inclusive, I think. And we've also ramped up our recruiting efforts and we have a tri annual principals' meeting and we'll be at that in January. And part of the focus for that principal's meeting will be diversity inclusion. So, we have more to come. Certainly, Goldman Sachs is an inspiration for firms like Milliman and others that are looking to begin a diversity inclusion effort in force.

Suzanne Siracuse: I think that's great. Thanks for sharing that. And I think that's a good point too, that not all firms are huge firms like Goldman, but you can do something, no matter if you're a two person shop or a 200,000 person shop, that there's always something that you can do. And the importance of it for really making sure that you get the best and the brightest and that you're retaining your employees and really focused on the inclusion efforts at your organization.

Tracy, how about you?

Tracy Fraser: In looking more at the advisors that we work with today, I've had many different roles within Transamerica, so I've seen an evolution and the advisors and the way they have their practices. I'm noticing many are going to a team set up and I think it's great because we can't all know everything about the industry, about the needs of our clients. And so having a team approach so that someone or everyone can specialize in different areas, whether its retirement plans or business succession planning or whatever it may be, to really provide a holistic overview to the clients that they're serving. I have noticed that teams are tending to bring on more women. Now you started off by saying only two in 10 of financial advisors are women, but I think we can increase that. I think we can give women the strength to be part of a team and know that they have a specialty in one area and that's okay because that actually makes the overall team stronger and gives our clients the ability to work with multiple different people on the team.

I noticed that with women and myself included, we tend to not think we're ready to do something. Like perhaps become a financial advisor unless we know everything or have all the answers and that's just not realistic. So, I encourage financial advisors out there to, to develop the team mentor, bring women along, bring women into the team and everyone has a specialty. But you learn from each other as well.

Suzanne Siracuse: That's great. Thanks Tracy.

So, Suzanne, you shared before we came on camera about an interesting discussion you had last night about teaming. Would you care to share that?

Suzanne Norman: Absolutely. It was funny in fact, but happy coincidence. I was actually at a dinner and with a client actually Transamerica client and got into a discussion with some advisors and it turned out that they were the perfect example of what we've been talking about so far, which is that the complexity of working with people that will probably have to figure out how to pay themselves when they no longer work, adds the need or contributes to the need for having a multi-discipline practice. And so, their practice was set up with five financial advisors, three relationship managers.

Thinking about the discussion today, they're looking to hire a financial planning specialist for their team. And it got me to share with them the thought that this is a great opportunity for them to hire a woman. They did have a woman in the role before, but to think outside the box, because one of the challenges they mentioned was, they were looking to hire someone with a lot of experience, frankly, take them from another firm, someone with a CFP, understandably because of the planning component. But I really mentioned to them and tried to be provocative that this could be an opportunity for them to hire someone with the right communication skills. Certainly, the aptitude to learn, which it's a constant learning as I mentioned in this industry, which is fun, but I thought it was really interesting and instructive that there is the perfect example and they're one of the largest teams in the Boston area. So it was, it was interesting coming to the session today to talk to them and plant the seed.

Candice Tse: Yeah. Given the theme about teaming, I'm not on a financial advisory team, but I must say that my team right now is all female and I've had the great fortune of managing many great teams, but I must say that all the females on my team make it one of the best teams I've ever worked with.

Suzanne Siracuse: That's great. Well, thanks for sharing that. Also, too from research that's been done, there's actually a lot of females in financial advisory firms, but they're not at the advisor level. They're in a sales assistant level. So even just thinking about ways to institute career pathing into an advisor's firm and really mentor and encourage some of the sales assistants to think if they would like to move on to become an actual client facing and actual advisor is also just another way and recommendation that it seems to be working well.

Suzanne Norman: Some of the most successful female advisors that I've met in my career and that was prior to joining Milliman started out as sales assistants and I think most of us know, having been in the business that, that may have been the only thing that appeared to them as an opportunity. But once they got in to the firm and were encouraged and mentored and sponsored, in many cases it's a great pathway I think as you say, as long as there's somebody there to encourage it. Because once they learn that service model, it's really all down to service. I think most of us know in this business

Tracy Fraser: And, it is the encouragement that they need.

Suzanne Norman: Yes.

Tracy Fraser: Get... From the sales assistant role, you learn everything behind the scenes without having to learn exactly how to make the presentation or ask all the questions. But you ultimately develop a fantastic relationship with the clients. Usually you're getting that last bit of paperwork or helping with transfers and things like that. So, you're doing a lot of that work and building the rapport with the customers is the most important part. If we could have more that have the courage to then step into that advisor role. That's why I think the team aspect is such a good thing, which is also why I encourage a lot of... When I was working in the field, I would encourage financial advisors to bring their assistants with them. It's good to hear the dialogue and just get exposure to the questions that are asked and the solutions that are presented.

Suzanne Siracuse: This is a great segue for the next section that I really wanted to cover today and that's how we can really help to support, create a support system around women who are already in the industry as we just discussed as well as those that we are hoping to bring in and bring up. So, mentorship and sponsorship are key aspects in developing out the next generation of women talent, women leaders. Sometimes they're used interchangeably, mentorship and sponsorship, but as you guys know, it's pretty, they're both pretty different.

A mentor is a person who can help you understand and navigate your organization, help you recognize your strengths, areas of development, and assist you in determining your career goals. Normally they are not your manager and a mentor is especially impactful for those who are just starting out in their careers and offer advice and guidance.

A sponsor is someone who often works in a management role in your organization. They openly advocate on your behalf, connect you to career opportunities, provide you with different, new initiatives that are being worked on at your company and build relationships with other important people in your organization. They take a vested interest in your career growth and often advocate for you for promotions. So now that we've set the stage and defined what they are, I'd love to hear from you all about your own experiences about both mentorship and sponsorship and how it's impacted your career and how this power of community is really infectious and how it can really help those that just need that extra something. So, I'd love to start with Tracy.

Tracy Fraser: I have been extremely fortunate in my career of which has all been at Transamerica. I have had both men and women that have been very involved in the success that I've been able to have at Transamerica and really getting me exposure to different opportunities within the industry itself and at the firm. At first, I didn't even realize it was happening. It was just someone that, there was a woman that would take me to any and all meetings and just really brought me in as part of the team to hear how things were done, to hear what meetings... What was talked about, decisions that were being made? In looking back, I realized that was, it was not a formal process, it was just she took me along for the ride, so to speak.

And so even now I look for opportunities to do the same for people that are around me, for women that are around me, to take them to meetings, to get them to exposure to different things that we're doing within the organization and out in the industry and out in the field. That was one thing. But I've also been supported by men. There have been quite a few men in my career that have been extremely generous in their time and their support and their recommendations or the edge education they've given to me in terms of how to navigate through the company, meeting different people within the company and meeting different people out in the industry in general with a lot of our partners. It's so important that it can come from the male or female side of things.

It doesn't just have to be... A female doesn't have to take you by the hand and go, but you also have to be a willing participant. And I've also noticed that in looking back at my tenure at Transamerica, you do need to raise your hand to be involved and to get involved and you have to let someone know that you want to move on and that you want to get that experience. And so, I also appreciate when other people or Transamerica have come to me and said, 'I kind of liked the path you're on. How did you get there? And can you take me along? So, I appreciate that as well; making me more aware of my surroundings and helping others that are around me. But it's a two way street and you have to be willing to learn. And then when you're there you just, you pick up different styles, different ways of presenting. Just the way different meetings are held, different personalities. So just sometimes being there and observing is a great learning tool.

Suzanne Siracuse: Did you reach out to your mentor. How did you find who your mentor was?

Tracy Fraser: Well, she hired me a long time ago. It was never a formal process, but I still look to her. I still call her. I still run things by her. It was just finding someone that I really connected with within the industry that I've stayed close to.

Suzanne Siracuse: Are you mentoring or sponsoring anyone now?

Tracy Fraser: Probably not formally, but there are a few people that I make sure I take care of. Because I want them to do really well and I know they have the ability to do so. I want to make sure that they are not afraid of not having all the answers. So, we'll just, it's okay. You don't have to know all the answers you learn from the people that are around you that do know whether it's a different topic or area of discussion.

Suzanne Siracuse: You're really paying it forward.

Tracy Fraser: I try.

Suzanne Siracuse: So Candace, that actually brings us into the kind of informal versus formal mentorship and sponsorship programs. And I know you have some experience with that.

Candice Tse: Yes, I completely agree with Tracy. I've been really fortunate to have great sponsors and mentors throughout my career, which has always been a Goldman Sachs as well. And just to give you some examples, the informal mentorship for me has been the most valuable, mostly because they've been my bosses current and past, who really know my body of work and are really invested in helping me progress in my career. For example, my previous boss who empowered me to create the Empower framework, she's been a great sponsor and mentor. I had a friend that started with me as an analyst and associate and we worked our way up, got promoted to VP at the same time; now she's a partner of the firm, so she's a great advocate.

One of my old male bosses who tapped me on the shoulder to take on this role in market strategy to our earlier point. I might not have raised my hand or even applied for it. It was if it was out in the open, because it's probably something I didn't think I could do, but because he tapped me on the shoulder and gave me the confidence that he thought that I could do this. Now I've been in the role for nine and now I'm the head of the group from the US standpoint. So, these are great opportunities that you get from sponsorship and mentorship. But to your question about informal versus formal, I love informal mentorships. They're organic, everyone's invested in, you know each other. But there is also something about formal mentorship that's important, particularly those who are starting their careers.

It's hard to have a mentor if you haven't been in this industry. So, having a formal channel is helpful. But to realize that in terms of formal mentorship, you need to drive the relationship and you need to build that trust with your mentor and be engaged both ways. And one last piece of advice I would say is I learned from my mentees. I mentor a lot of folks from an informal, informal perspective. And I've found that I'm a better manager because my mentee shared their experiences and what happens with their managers to me and from that I'm able to become a better leader within my group. So, mentorship is all the way around, informal and formal, any way you can get it, I think it's really, really valuable for one's career.

Suzanne Siracuse: Yeah, that's a great example. And that reverse mentorship too sometimes is even more helpful for the person that's mentoring or sponsoring than you even, than you even originally think.

Suzanne, how about you? Where you mentored? Were you sponsored?

Suzanne Norman: Yes, yes to both.

Suzanne Siracuse: Yes and yes.

Suzanne Norman: I will echo Tracy and Candice that it's really been a pleasure to have people that take an interest in you. What I think was most interesting for me though is through this industry, almost 30 years that I also seek mentors outside of our industry because I think part of what I've enjoyed, both mentoring and being mentored is the fact that you're getting objectivity and certainly a pathway to success sometimes. And sometimes it is, is as I think I'm going to translate best practices on what not to do. I think that it's been really interesting. One of the things that we certainly know from the statistics you shared, Suzanne, is that many of the people that have helped me have been men. I also want to call out the fact that a lot of times people say, 'Were they helping you just because they need another woman, the only highlight and how many women in the room?'

I really haven't felt that once. And I think it's a lot to Tracy's point, which is the sincerity of really leaning in as we've learned, this is in the lexicon now of raising your hand and to Candice's point, also having someone who kind of pushes the handout. But the first time that I participated in a formal program was actually this year and Milliman started a mentorship program a few years ago and there was sort of a call to action, which was, 'We need more participants', and they actually needed like this, like going into the next year they more mentees. And so, for me it was a really interesting experience because I was thinking with my age and experience, I would be a mentor, but they needed mentees. So, I raised my hand and I said I'll do both, which was unique; not a lot of people will do that.

It ended up being super rewarding because I was paired with someone who is probably one of the premier female leaders in the firm globally who is just an amazing person, is in a different business unit or practice than mine. And was so helpful in ways that I never would have thought. So, I guess it comes back to my natural curiosity and just having the humility of you can always learn something new. And so, it was really a pleasure to participate and also mentor someone that I never would have met who was just a fascinating individual. And so, the sponsorships are rarer, but I have benefited as well.

Suzanne Siracuse: That's great. Again, great examples. And one bit of advice that someone gave me when I started talking about mentorship and sponsorship with other women leaders. One of the things that came out as a lot of women didn't want to volunteer to mentor someone because it was going to take so much time. It seems overwhelming, right? And one recommendation was pick something that you know you're really, really good at and have that be what you lead with. So, if you're really good at communication style or if you're really good at executive presence or research or what have you, then let people know that, that's something that you're willing to share and then it becomes a little less daunting. That was just a recommendation that I thought was something that I think others could get some value out of. So, thank you for that.

Suzanne Norman: Suzanne, can I add one more thing?

Suzanne Siracuse: Absolutely.

Suzanne Norman: Okay. Then it got me thinking about the sort of binary quality a lot of time. Having a sponsor or a mentor. And one of the things I've seen in a lot of industries is the fact that there are professional coaches that are being incorporated into senior leadership roles. And I think that's a unique opportunity that younger people may also have the benefit of doing that. Not just having it be a perk in their sort of benefits package, if you will in the C suite level and the senior executives. But encouraging people that are younger that if you can find an executive coach that's external, that can be really helpful to get the skills and the behavior patterns that people are looking for. So, it gets back to, again kind of raising your hand and helping yourself.

Tracy Fraser: That gives a nice outside perspective too.

Suzanne Norman: Yes.

Tracy Fraser: Someone outside of your direct company to give you guidance and the kind of have to navigate your way through.

Suzanne Siracuse: So one topic that I think is important for us to bring up today is what is becoming an epidemic in our country. And that is financial literacy or the lack thereof of real financial education of our young people.

Suzanne, I know you have some statistics around this. Why don't we kick off with you?

Suzanne Norman: Sure. I agree with you. I call it financial illiteracy. One of the challenges that we have is that it's not in the curriculum. Only 17 States, the council of economic education runs a report every year, survey the states and only 17 mandate, a personal finance class for high school. And that's pretty dismal. So, I live in Boston and Massachusetts actually just passed a law this year. So, the curriculum isn't built yet, but I think that we've discussed offline that, that's really critical that the states begin to step in. Where I think we as an industry, because we are educated, we do, I think have strong communication skills. I believe it's incumbent upon us to volunteer. So, one of the things that I do with my free time is I joined the junior achievement board in Boston and volunteer as a financial literacy instructor in the schools. We do K through 12.

Also, the CFA society is very engaged in financial literacy. I joined the committee in Boston, and we go to children, we go to adults. One of the alliances that we have is with the prison system. So, there are a lot of things that we can do, to fill this gap. Because I think most of us recognize that the industry does tend to be binary and people who with money are working with advisors in our industry. But people without money aren't necessarily getting that advice. And so, I think that we have a unique opportunity in perch to do those trainings and volunteer opportunities that, that are in everybody's community.

Suzanne Siracuse: Yeah, I couldn't agree more. And kudos to you for taking time out of your schedule to make sure that you volunteer around an issue that's really important to our country and that's important to you personally.

Candice, I'd love to shift over to you and talk about... You mentioned the Empower tool. How can that help potentially help some of the younger people with financial literacy?

Candice Tse: Sure. I like to give another shout out to junior achievement. I work closely with junior achievement of New York, so it is important to empower the youth with financial literacy and talk about things like entrepreneurship and finance in their lives. With Empower what we've encouraged a lot of mothers and also grandmothers to do is to invite their kids and their grandkids to these sessions. And as a result of that, we've expanded our programming for empower to reach millennials and also the next generation, Gen Z, to really provide them with that background and framework to get them closer to financial success at an early age.

Suzanne Siracuse: Tracy, what about you? What are some of the things that advisors could do, our industry could do to help improve financial literacy with our young?

Tracy Fraser: Yes, absolutely. Our industry can help itself by not using as much of the industry jargon that we use. We understand it because we're all in this business. We speak in a more surrounded by it on a daily basis. But our clients, our financial advisors that we work with and their investors are not familiar with the language that we use and we need to use whatever methods possible, simpler language, language that the customer understands storytelling, whatever it may be, to help our investors feel more comfortable in what it is that they are investing in, the products that they need and the solutions that we can provide to them.

Suzanne Siracuse: One question I always love to ask is what is the best advice that someone provided you and why?

Tracy, I'd love to start with you.

Tracy Fraser: Sure. Related to a lot of the topics we've had today. The best piece of advice I was ever given was to make the last call of the day. And when I was in sales, obviously it makes sense, but I always found that my last call of the day was always the most productive. It was usually because you sort of want to, you're like, 'Okay, my day is over, it's good', and there's that one call. And you're like, 'I'll do it tomorrow morning'. And I've almost, every time I do it, I just make that last call and it's come to fruition in terms of, it's always a good conversation. I've had a lot of luck from it, and every time I make that last call I always think back, 'Thanks dad, I appreciate that advice. It was great'.

But I encourage people to do that and whether it's calling your client, whether initiating a new conversation with a new client, whether it's calling your sales assistant into the office to have one more conversation about what happened that day, it can relate to anything but just don't put off what you really know should still happen today for tomorrow morning. And it's just amazing to me how often it makes a huge difference in my day. So, make the last call.

Suzanne Siracuse: What a great bit of advice. And that was from your dad?

Tracy Fraser: It was from my dad.

Suzanne Siracuse: Love it. That's wonderful.

Candice, how about you?

Candice Tse: I remember, one of the senior partners of my firm when I was younger in my career, gave the advice that you can have it all, just maybe not all at the same time. And perhaps when she told me that advice, I really didn't understand at that point. But over the years I've really come to embrace it. Because what it means to me is that work life balance is different for all of us. We're all female here, but yet we're all at different life stages and have different things that are important to us right now. So, for me what that means is that there will be times when you're laser focused on your career. There will be times when you're laser focused on starting a family or keeping your family and putting them through school.

So, there will be different priorities at different times. You'll still be juggling everything, but if you think you can have it all at once, it's really difficult. Perhaps eventually. But as of right now, working through your career, it probably can't all happen at the same time. And I appreciate that because I can't do what I do day in and day out without my understanding family because it does take a village. It takes an understanding husband for what I do. It takes a great mom who's retired to watch my kids. It takes an amazing family of aunts, uncles and everyone else and colleagues who are understanding to do this. It really does take a village, but you can't have it all at once. Maybe not right now.

Suzanne Siracuse: That's another very practical bit of advice. And I think that there are a lot of men and women that think that how can I do all of this? And it's giving yourself permission to not be excellent at everything in every single stage of your career, in your life. That's great. Thanks for sharing that.

Suzanne, how about you?

Suzanne Norman: Well first I want to say the quote I believe is attributed to Betty for Dan. I think it's wonderful and words to live by. The advice that I got, and it may come back from psychology degree in communication is that we're translators. At the end of the day, we work in a very complex industry, and again, starting in my career and having mostly sale, I think everyone is in sales, frankly. But the advice that I got was, learn how to tell stories and learn how to use metaphors. Because many, many times, it's not what it is, it's what it does. And particularly when we're talking to investors and we're talking about female investors a lot today, it really is creating that complete... Taking complexity to simplicity and also making it meaningful and stories and metaphors having great way to accomplish that for people. It makes, it takes the jargon out, it gets people to focus on, on what matters to them.

And one of the people that I think we all look to in this industry who is very homespun and very smart, Warren Buffet. I actually went to the shareholder meeting for the first time this year, which was really fun. Talk about a revival. But one of my favorite metaphors or analogies that who use is, what he'll describe as a margin of safety. And so, if you're talking to an investor margin of safety, what does that mean? Well, he describes it as building a bridge and if you're building a bridge, make it last or, or a solid and stable for 30,000 ton truck and only drive a 10,000 ton truck over. And so, I love the stories and the metaphors that we really have to embrace when we want people to understand what we do and more importantly what we're helping them do for themselves.

I'll throw out another sort of statistic which is that I think most of us are, we were 80% visual right as learners. There's someone that I've just grown to love and follow. In fact, he sent an email out today and some people have noticed or seen him in the New York times and it's Carl Richards, and he's the sketch guy. And if you are looking for ways to talk to your clients, especially people that may not have our lingo and lexicon, he is terrific at distilling down concepts into the cocktail napkin visual. And so that's, that's one of the things that I took away when I learned this industry.

Suzanne Siracuse: Great advice, love the storytelling aspect. I think people really can identify it and Carl Richards and the Whiteboarding is fabulous. And again, the visual to help you learn is, I think one of the biggest areas of opportunity for advisors to think about how do they use more visuals in their presentation. So that's great advice. As we're just about at our hour, I'd love to conclude with what is the top takeaway that you'd like to leave with today. And I will start with Candice.

Candice Tse: The top takeaway I'd like to leave today is that your career is a marathon and not a sprint. And that's been certainly the case with myself. What I mean by that is, as you start your career particularly, you might start to see some of your friends or peers move up maybe seemingly faster. Or maybe you see other people get to where they want to be in a straight line. And your career is not always a straight line. You'll take some turns along the way to get to where you'll eventually be. But it's very important to keep that in mind, particularly for millennials and Gen Z because I do see a lot of millennials and Gen Z thinking that they need to jump from job to job because that's what everybody else is doing. So, after a year or two, everyone finds themselves in a place where they feel like they need to go to the next best thing.

And I actually would caution them on that because if you leave a job too soon, you've started for a year, you barely know anything in your second year, you probably have a grasp of what you've been doing day to day. And probably by year two, year three is when you're actually adding value. But if you jump ship too soon, you'll never get the opportunity to become a manager, to become a leader. Skills that you need to develop. So, if you jump from job to job, you'll always be the most junior person learning the most junior types of jobs. But you'll miss out on that leadership and management capability and skills that you need for the duration of your career. And what I also want to end with is the fact that your career is a marathon, not a sprint. Pull other people up along the way because you got here not because of just yourself, but other people to help you. So, you should do the same with others. And a leader is only as strong as their team and the people around them.

Suzanne Siracuse: Wonderful. Great, great takeaway.


Suzanne Norman: Well, I think we've talked a lot about the opportunity for women and I think it's both to Candice's point, women in our business and women investors and this, this transfer of wealth that we're seeing. And so what I guess I want people to take away from our discussion is that, at no other time in this century or in our millennia, has there been such an intersection and an opportunity for women in our business to help women investors and of the things that we have naturally, I think is women is high emotional intelligence. We have the listening skills, we have empathy. And it's not to say that men cannot help women investors. We've talked about this before, but I do encourage women to really think about what can happen when you apply those natural talents to the skills and licensing and all of the expertise we need to develop along the way, but to serve this transfer of wealth and power and help empower women. So, I really would say, think about that inflection that we're witnessing right now.

Suzanne Siracuse: I think that's a great takeaway and for advisors to think about it as well as they are hiring. Maybe start hiring on potential and not just on experience. That's a great takeaway.

Tracy, we'll end with you. Your top takeaway.

Tracy Fraser: I would say raise your hand both personally. Raise someone else's hand to bring them along. It doesn't matter whether you're the investor, raise your hand about what you want, what you want to learn about, what you want to be educated on. Raise your hand as the advisor to bring to get you to the next level. Raise your hand as that sales assistant saying, I want to learn and I want to become involved, even today, any of us raise your hand because none of us here knows where we're going to be a year from now, but it's just taking the opportunities that are placed in front of us and going for it.

Suzanne Siracuse: That was fantastic. And with that, I want to thank Suzanne Norman, Tracy Frazier, Candice Tse for being such wonderful panelists with such great insight and information. So, thank you all for being here, and thank you all for watching. I'm Suzanne Siracuse.