Women need to establish comprehensive retirement plans — that include a mix of vehicles, including annuities — as they live longer than men, on average, and will therefore encounter more expenses, said Caroline Dabu, vice president and head, Bank of Montreal (BMO) Wealth Planning Group, during a BMO Financial Group hosted panel last week in Toronto.
The panel, in keeping with Women’s History Month — an annual month declared worldwide that highlights contributions of women to events in history as well as contemporary society — featured BMO executives discussing issues relating to women, wealth and the financial services industry that caters to them. The panel also discussed a recently completed BMO study, “Women & Wealth.”
In opening the panel, Betsey Chung, vice President and head of Marketing and Client Strategy, BMO Private Client Group, spoke about how women have different wealth needs than their male counterparts and how financial institutions need to do a better job of communicating specifically with them. Chung feels that this can be accomplished if financial institutions develop marketing tactics specifically tailored to women rather than the general public. She mentioned how women control one-third of all the wealth in North America today and as that number increases, financial service companies need to develop targeted marketing to communicate to this demographic.
Richard Mills, co-head, executive vice president and managing director, BMO Nesbitt Burns, concurred with Chung about the need for the industry to specifically communicate with women in a competent manner. He cautioned that women make investment decisions differently than men with the former usually being much more risk-averse. Increasingly, Mills added, women are acting as the CFO of their households and traditional marketing materials, designed solely for the main breadwinner in the family may be becoming increasingly obscure. “We need to engage couples as a whole and discuss the family’s wealth more than just an individual’s wealth,” Mills said.