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HARRISBURG, Pa. — These are certainly serious times. And Emmor Boslet doesn’t mean to make light of them by suggesting she might do better to bring a couch into her office.As vice president of wealth management at the $277 million Belco Community Credit Union and an advisory services representative with CUNA Brokerages Services Inc., Boslet finds herself initially setting aside long-term financial goal reviews for conversations on how family members are faring in the midst of layoffs and foreclosures.“Right now, we’re managing emotions more than anything else,” Boslet said. “The top two concerns are ‘How long is this going to last?’ and ‘Is my money going to be there for me for the long term?’”With more than 20 years of experience in investment advisory services, Boslet has seen the ebbs and flows and draws on her instincts to know that getting a handle of where her clients are emotionally is essential. She is responsible for managing roughly $100 million in assets for more than 1,000 member-clients, mostly pre- and post-retirees. Through the years, she has scaled back serving clients from the young, married and middle of career sets referring them to other advisers. Her strengths, she said, lies with helping members prepare and manage long-term care costs, estate planning and all of the stages that come during the aging process.“We’re kind of a second family. A lot of times, we know more about these folks than their children sometimes do,” Boslet said. “I always ask ‘is there anything keeping you up at night.’”Early in her career, Boslet worked for an independent advisory firm. When she came to the credit union industry nearly 16 years ago, she was taken aback by the level of trust members have in their credit unions. Even though there is a distinct separation between investment services and traditional offerings, she strives to build on that loyalty.“Back in the other part of the [investment banking] world, it’s ‘who are you, where do you come from.’ I had none of that when I came to credit unions,” Boslet said. “I know going forward I have to earn [trust].”To break through the intimidation they may have felt at big investment firms, Paula McCauley at the $338 million East Texas Professional Credit Union, has a four-prong approach. Financial service representative McCauley said she listens to them explain their money goals, “[that lets] them know I’m listening,” puts together an allocation model that fits with their situation and educates. The financial adviser has approximately 450 clients with roughly $40 million in assets under management.“One of the biggest concerns I hear is ‘am I going to lose all my money,’” said McCauley, who has been at ETP CU for more than five years. “We tell them credit unions are different than banks. We’re much more conservative. They need that reassurance, and they want someone to talk to them in everyday English.”Prior to coming to the credit union, McCauley worked at global wealth management firm UBS Investment Bank. She’s noticed that some new members are cautious when meeting with her for the first time and even more so after the big bank upheaval last October.“Sometimes they feel a little intimidated after [past experiences of] walking into a Merrill Lynch, Smith Barney or UBS,” she said. “It always goes back to being able to build relationships and calming fears.”McCauley has been in the financial advisory business since 1996 and she’s learned that “markets like this make you smarter.” “Some people hide under their desk. You have to be open and forthcoming.”And, what of the take that women advisers may have an advantage over connecting better with members compared to their male counterparts? Not that men brokers and advisers don’t have the ability to empathize, McCauley explained, but women tend to take it a step further through expression and giving clients more room to talk it out.Boslet said women may recognize more that to succeed in the financial advisory business the notion is about building relationships not chasing after money. She doesn’t call her time with clients appointments, preferring to see them as visits. She spends the first 15 minutes talking about family and what’s going on in their lives.Both McCauley and Boslet are among the 22 financial advisers who recently received CUNA Brokerage’s Women of Distinction award that recognizes superior performance, value to their program, exceptional client service and overall contribution to the financial services industry. All of the honorees earned more than $250,000 in gross dealer concessions in 2008. Each will be paired up to serve as either mentors or mentees through monthly teleconferences and other outlets.“When you’re out at a credit union, you’re kind of on an island,” Boslet said. “The fact that I can call or e-mail other advisers, especially other women, is invaluable.”McCauley relishes the springboard for best practice ideas. “We can find out what’s working and what’s not working. We can always learn new things.”Boslet, a member of the Financial Planning Association of America, said 26% of those in the financial advisory industry are women. However, that figure has not changed over the last 10 to 15 years.“I don’t know why [that's the case]. It’s a hard business. How many people would take a job if they didn’t know what their paycheck would be from day to day?”Still, Boslet doesn’t believe there’s a glass ceiling hanging overhead as her own research has shown that women advisers tend to outperform men.“I have built so many wonderful relationships through the years. We’re not stagnant,” Boslet said on linking up with other advisers through CUNA Brokerage. “We’re always asking ‘how can we do better?’ Not all organizations are like that.”–[email protected]

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