Women control — not just have influence over — 27% of the world’s total wealth, A 2014 study from the New York-based Center for Talent Innovation found.
In the U.S., women control $11.2 trillion, or 39%, of the country’s investable assets, according to the center’s report, “Harnessing the Power of the Purse: Female Investors and Global Opportunities for Growth.” However, the study found that only 47% of the higher income and higher asset-owning American women (annual income over $100,000 and investable assets of $500,000 or more) had an advisor. Three-quarters of those surveyed under the age of 40 said they did not have an advisor.
Of those who do have an advisor, 67% said they “feel misunderstood” by their advisor. When it comes to how they use their wealth, the study’s authors found that in their global sample, “women look to wealth to provide a larger basket of goods, not just for themselves and their families, but also for society at large,” with 90% saying that “making a positive impact on society is important. They want both their time and their money to advance causes important to them.”
A study released by Pershing in March — “Women: Investing With a Purpose” — supported that finding. In a webcast on the study, Kim Dellarocca of Pershing asked, “Do women need to invest differently? Does their wealth management experience need to change because of their gender?” Part of Dellarocca’s answer is that for advisors working with women, “the planning conversation has to happen differently,” and that while traditional portfolio construction includes risk and diversification, many advisors “miss the emotional quotient of portfolio construction.”
Andrea Turner Moffitt, one of the Center for Talent Innovation report authors, spoke on the Pershing webcast as well, arguing that not only are “women not a niche market” who “hold a significant amount of assets, but they’re decision makers” and “wealth creators, not just spouses and inheritors.”
Moffitt, a managing director at Hewlett Consulting Partners, then highlighted the Pershing study’s finding that “diversity does matter; women don’t necessarily require a female advisor, but they want to see diversity” in the firms from which they get their wealth management advice. And in the end, she said, “trust trumps gender.”There’s another benefit for advisory firms that value diversity, according to Dellarocca, since “if you get it right for women investors you get it right for women advisors.”