Top Producing LPL Advisor Susan Kaplan Tells Women: ‘We Need More Bravado’
Susan Kaplan is one of LPL’s top producing advisors, and for decades has been a woman to watch in financial services. Today, all eyes were on her as the featured speaker at the 10th annual Focus on Women, a half-day symposium within LPL’s all-advisor conference, Focus. The symposium provided women advisors with personal and professional development opportunities and cultivates a community of women advisors.
With more than 30 years of experience as a financial advisor, Kaplan has consistently been one of the most successful women in the industry. She has appeared repeatedly on the Barron’s and Forbes lists of top producing women financial advisors and among the Barron’s list of top 100 financial advisors nationwide. Kaplan started her career as a nurse, spent 10 years as a stay-at-home mom while also earning her MBA, then launched her firm, Kaplan Financial Services, outside Boston, in the 1990s.
Kaplan spoke to more than 100 LPL advisors during the event about her unapologetic approach to business, at one point joking, “One of the other things I do that’s wrong,” before dispensing a wide-array of advice, including:
- Build a community of support: When Kaplan started her own firm, she rented an office within a building that included shared conference and meeting areas. The tenants got to know each other well, including 10 women. All starting out in financial services, they had varying specialties. “Having each other was enormous,” she said. “You don’t want to admit to the world you can’t do, fill in the blank, but we had each other.” They would share their cases looking to each other for expertise. ”That kind of networking filled a gap,” she said.
- Have the confidence of a man: “Ask a guy if he can do anything, and he’ll say, ‘Yep,’” Kaplan said, eliciting a chuckle from the crowd. “We don’t do that well enough.” Early in her career, she turned to a male mentor when she wanted feedback because she knew he would be brutally honest, but that honesty was simply his normal confidence paired with a large personality. Her point to the women in the audience: “We need more bravado.”
- Make time for what matters: She admits she takes the least amount of vacation of those in her office, but by choice. She loves to work, but was quick to point out, “Never, ever is there a day that I don’t take time for pleasure.” That could be reading or drinks with a girlfriend. Apart from work, she said the most important things to her are her family, including her husband, her two kids and two grandkids, and five women “who are huge to me. We are pals we really need. Those might be some of the most real relationships.”
Barron’s Top 100 Advisors Award is based on assets under management, revenue produced for the firm, regulatory record, quality of practice and philanthropic work.
The Forbes ranking of America’s Top Women Wealth Advisors, developed by SHOOK Research, is based on an algorithm of qualitative and quantitative data, rating thousands of wealth advisors with a minimum of seven years of experience and weighing factors like revenue trends, assets under management, compliance records, industry experience and best practices learned through telephone and in-person interviews. Portfolio performance is not a criterion due to varying client objectives and lack of audited data. Neither Forbes nor SHOOK receives a fee in exchange for rankings.
The Forbes Best-In-State Wealth Advisor ranking, developed by SHOOK Research, is based on in-person and telephone due diligence meetings and a ranking algorithm that includes: client retention, industry experience, review of compliance records, firm nominations; and quantitative criteria, including: assets under management and revenue generated for their firms. Portfolio performance is not a criterion due to varying client objectives and lack of audited data. Neither Forbes nor SHOOK Research receives a fee in exchange for rankings.