Stephanie Ackler, a motivated financial prodigy, was chosen as one of Crain’s New York Business’ 2020 Notable Women in Financial Advice. Over the course of her career in finance, Stephanie has successfully led clients to build better, more secure futures, through a comprehensive approach. Further, she uses her position to address social injustices and promote equality.
Stephanie, congratulations on being named one of the Notable Women in Financial Advice for 2020. Tell us a bit about your professional journey and how you got here.
“From the very beginning, my professional objective has been to empower clients through knowledge and education. Throughout my career I’ve held steadfast to the same three guiding principles: 1. Help clients understand and embrace what their money can help them achieve in life, 2. Ensure clients have a wealth plan to maintain their lifestyle and not outlive their resources, and 3. Establish the proper legal safeguards so they are well taken care of financially should they become incapacitated or no longer able to care for themselves.
“This cooperative approach has always been my core tenet as I strive to provide stronger financial literacy and empowerment, especially to women. In 1990 I began giving small educational seminars called “Women and Wealth”. I brought many of the institutional wealth topics I learned from my CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) coursework to help women learn about asset allocation, cash flow management, generating income from inheritance, divorce, building sale, etc. Today, 30 years later, there is still great interest from my clients to be part of the group who meets for these educational events. It’s become a bit of a club due to so many “regulars”. The topics include market and economic outlooks, retirement plan discussions, retirement planning, current developments within the environmental, social and governance areas, wine and cheese, young artists, health and wellness and still today, women and wealth.”
Women account for only 20% of our nation’s financial advisors. Recently, greater emphasis on holistic advice, consumer friendlier marketing and so on, have made the profession more attractive to women. What are your thoughts on this?
“Over the next decade my hope is that we see woman comprising closer to 40% — 50% of all financial advisors. We have seen that kind of dramatic shift in the fields of law, medicine and engineering to name a few, so it is absolutely realistic.
“I believe women are phenomenal financial advisors from every angle.
“We tend to think holistically and can solve for multiple issues simultaneously. Women have a talent for discovery, leading with questions and are naturally great listeners, which helps in developing stronger, broader and more relatable wealth plans. Women are logical risk takers given the appropriate circumstances which positions us as both careful and strong portfolio stewards of our clients’ wealth.
“As female financial advisors seek out professional certifications to help anchor and amplify their financial careers, there are a few prominent designations to consider, such as Chartered Financial Analyst which I hold.”