How to handle advising clients in a niche community

Aug 29, 2013 @ 12:00 am

Runtime: 3:03

Morgan Stanley's Michael Pellman Rowland discusses the unique challenges and potential rewards that accompany advising clients in a niche community.

Video Transcript

You know, there's an old saying that people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. And trusting your advisor with your money is one of the biggest decisions anybody can make. Finding a niche is one of the things that, when you first start working with wealth management, people tell you is vital and what I started to do is sort of look at my life and the areas that were important to me and the one that really stood up the most was serving the LGBT community, having grown up in the West Village in a building where my parents were one of only two straight couples. You know, I've really grown up around the LGBT community and had a lot of friends and a lot of them were asking me questions when I got into wealth management relating to legal problems that they might be having or questions they had about making sure their family is protected. And so, it seemed like a perfect opportunity to really brush up on all the information I needed to know to become a specialist so I could really start serving community that meant a lot to me. And so, I got my Accredited Domestic Partnership Advisor designation. I'd started hosting a lot of seminars for clients and having state lawyers join in to sort of go over the basics of, you know, what you should be worried about, what you should be thinking about doing depending upon your situation and how many assets you have and whether you want to adopt and whether you wanna get married. So, I mean, there's a lot of complexities that face the LGBT community that heterosexuals don't have to deal with as much and it just seemed like a perfect opportunity. So, one of the most important reasons to work with a specialist as opposed to a generalist is that they're gonna be able to give you a level of advice and clarity that you couldn't get from somebody who wasn't specializing in that area and that's what your financial advisor, a doctor, or any other profession. And particularly for the LGBT community, there's a lot of fluctuation in the laws at the moment particularly with the DOMA case and Prop 8. And almost there's more confusion now than there was beforehand. And so, working with a specialist who really understands what people need to be thinking about, structuring for their investments and for their family, and being with somebody like me who can keep them aware of the issues as they develop over time because there are very few certainties, but it's almost certain that the landscape for LGBT couples is only gonna continue to be a bit uncertain for quite awhile and having a specialist by your side is really critical. And for any advisor who's thinking about getting into this niche or any other niche that requires specialization, particularly if you're not an official member so to speak, it really pays to do enough in participation-- active participation, whether it's serving the community, being on the board, doing things that don't necessarily dovetail with what your financial advisor had that make you a person. It will really go a long way to building that trust.


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