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Monday, November 07, 2011

When Charlie Met Sallie

Reported by Armie Margaret Lee

Sallie Krawcheck, former president of global wealth management & investment management at Bank of America, sat down for a chat with talk show host Charlie Rose onstage this morning at SIFMA's annual meeting in New York.

Sallie Krawcheck

Krawcheck, who left BofA in September, told Rose that the wealth management business "is in some ways in much better shape than the conventional wisdom we have today."

"Clients, contrary to what you might read, continue to like, trust and admire their financial advisor," Krawcheck said. She added that for majority of finacial advisor - client relations, the market downturn "actually cemented that feeling of trust and confidence."

Krawcheck said that FAs typically lose clients at the rate of a low single-digit percent in any given year. "You don't hear this statistic much," she said.

Krawcheck also talked about the industry's medium-to-long-term challenges. "Our industry does not do a great job for women and our industry is perceived as not doing a great job and being appropriate for the next generation," she said.

Clients in the traditional brokerage firms, she noted, are in their early '60s. As for the next generation coming in, "everything they have seen in terms of market returns, everything they have heard in the press, they don't want to be in the markets..." There's a challenge to prove that the organizations add value, she said.

Women on Wall Street

When Rose brought up the topic of Women on Wall Street, Krawcheck narrated the story of a recent speaking engagement in Harvard University, where she appeared before an audience of young women interested in business.

While she was preparing her comments for the audience, "I kept wanting to say I'm sorry. And not 'I'm sorry' in that I apologize to you, but 'I'm sorry' as in I feel sort of sad that when I was your age, young ladies, I would've thought that 25-years-plus on, we would've made more progress than we've made."

Krawcheck talked about the percentage of women in management roles and on boards. She then zeroed in on the wealth management industry and noted that women make up about 16 to 18 percent of financial advisors.

She stressed the importance of diversity in organizations. Pointing to research, she said that a diverse team outperforms a more capable team.

She also said that "mentoring is yesterday's news, sponsorship is today's news...making sure that folks with a diverse perspective are making it through into management and getting the help they need to make it to the next step."

Sifma's annual meeting is taking place at the Marriott Marquis in Manhattan's Times Square. The meeting concludes at 5 p.m.

Earlier today, Rose interviewed Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit onstage.

This afternoon, SEC chair Mary Schapiro is slated to address the audience. Other speakers at the annual meeting include Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID), U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission chairman Gary Gensler and Deputy Treasury Secretary Neal Wolin

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