Advisors often ask us: Who are the best clients for the Pax Ellevate Global Women’s Leadership Fund — is it just for women? That’s a logical assumption given the Fund was designed to bring about gender equality. But the audience for this Fund is actually much broader. So, who is invested in the Pax Ellevate Global Women’s Leadership Fund? We took a close look recently and certain themes stood out.

It was tough to narrow them down, but here are our top takeaways from the 2019 Pax Ellevate Invest in Women symposia.

Stop waiting. Make the recommendation.

There were tons of takeaways from the panels of advisors who dished out their top tips for incorporating sustainable investing into a practice, but the one we heard loudest and clearest was this: If you are waiting for your clients to bring up sustainable investing, stop waiting and make the recommendation. ESG funds are sound investment options that should be evaluated as any other investment product would be — and not only when your clients ask for them. Top advisors are using their discretion to implement ESG into portfolios where it makes sense as part of their overall investment strategy. Bonus tip: Don’t fall for the common misconception that you need to go all in on ESG — you don’t. Just start; your clients may be impressed.

Millennials are the “emerging markets” of your client base.

Purpose Generation’s talk about the next-gen investor challenged our assumptions and underlined the opportunities in front of us — in bold print! Think millennials are too young and their lives aren’t yet complex enough to warrant professional advice? That’s wrong! Millennials were 90 percent of the new parents of 20171 and 37 percent of the new home buyers in 2015.2 Today they are most of the workforce and many are in their peak earning years. The time to start working with millennials was yesterday. If you aren’t helping them, they will find help elsewhere. OK, one last (big) thing: Advisors who are working with a significant number of millennial clients are growing their business 50 percent faster than those who are not.3 Who knew that a satisfied millennial (is that an oxymoron?) could be your best advertisement?

Enough with the money lies.

Sallie Krawcheck was fired up and spot on when she talked about the ridiculous money lies the media directs toward women. Messages such as Budgeting is hard, we can help. (Fear selling.) Skip the latté and invest, instead. (Guilt selling.) Such messages have resulted in women associating money most commonly with the feelings of loneliness, stress and fear. This is a huge problem! We know that women investors are just as sound as men, and as shapers of this industry, we need to send different messages — ones that convey confidence and call out sexist directives that leave women feeling less capable than they’ve proven to be. (Or, as Sallie has put it recently, “Buy the f*ing latté!”)

Our values are our benchmarks.

If you haven’t heard of the work being done by 21/64, do yourself a favor and check them out. One of our favorite lines from Danielle York’s presentation about understanding the motives that drive generational wealth was “Our values are our benchmarks.” Danielle led us through an exercise to identify our top three values (i.e. compassion, spirituality, equality) as an entry point into a typically complex conversation about what we want our money decisions to reflect. As advisors, you navigate these kinds of conversations with families often, but how often do you lead with values? Designing a family discussion this way has proven to be incredibly impactful, and one of the best ideas shared at the symposia.

“We are agents of change, as investors and as advisors…

…and what we can accomplish by embracing gender lens investing is potentially profound. We can change the business culture. And because America has always been business-minded, by changing the culture we can change our country — for the better.”

These were the words of Pax Ellevate CEO Joe Keefe when he kicked things off in New York City. Joe reminded us that, at a time when we’re confronted with so much negativity, when many are wringing their hands about how bad things are, about how broken our politics are, about how divided our society is, about how unresponsive our system seems to have become, that we — investors and advisors — have the opportunity, and the responsibility, to act.

What were YOUR top takeaways? Tell us on LinkedIn!

1 Winnie.com, “Millennials May Be History’s Most Competent Parents,” 2017.
2 Jung Hyun Choi, Jun Zhu, Laurie Goodman, “The State of Millennial Homeownership,” Urban Institute, July 11, 2018.
3 Patrick Donachie, “Financial Advisor Revenue Reaches Record High Despite Drop in Assets,” WealthManagement.com, April 30, 2019.

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Jenifer Cannon

Vice President, Business Development

Jenifer Cannon is Vice President, Business Development, at Impax Asset Management LLC, the North American division of Impax Asset Management Group and investment adviser to Pax World Funds.

A gender lens investing expert, Jenifer helps financial advisors integrate sustainable investing strategies into their practices and portfolios. She is a product specialist supporting marketing and sales initiatives for the Gender Lens Strategies, which includes the Pax Ellevate Global Women’s Leadership Fund.

Jenifer has been in the financial industry for more than 25 years and has been with Impax since 2018. Before joining the firm, she worked for Fidelity Investments, Putnam Investments and Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. in retail and institutional roles. She also held positions at The Boston Foundation and the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, where she worked closely with advisors and families to design charitable giving strategies. Jenifer has also helped family foundations develop strategic plans for impact giving and investing as well as multi-generational engagement.

Jenifer holds the FINRA Series 6, 63 and 65 registrations, and she’s a Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy (CAP®) as well as a 21/64 Certified PHILANTRHOPIC Advisor. She is also a registered representative of ALPS Distributors, Inc.

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Kelly Coyne

Vice President, Global Women's Strategies

Kelly Coyne is Vice President of Global Women’s Strategies at Impax Asset Management LLC, the North American division of Impax Asset Management Group and investment adviser to Pax World Funds. She oversees national sales and marketing initiatives for the firm’s gender lens strategies and is a product specialist for the Pax Ellevate Global Women’s Leadership Fund.

Since joining Impax in 2014, Kelly has honed and expanded the firm’s practice management resources, which help institutions and financial advisors more effectively engage with and serve women investors as well as the next generation of clients.

Kelly is an expert on impact and gender lens investing. She contributes articles to industry publications and is a regular presenter at industry conferences and events nationwide.

Kelly holds the FINRA Series 6, 63 and 65 registrations and is a registered representative of Foreside Financial Services, LLC. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in human rights from Trinity College and is a graduate of Wharton’s Women’s Executive Leadership program.

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