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Industry Spotlight > Women in Wealth

Advisors Must Use a 'Gender Lens' to Better Serve Women Clients

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Financial advisors cannot afford to ignore the fact that the greatest amount of wealth in the U.S. is generated today by women. Many advisors already understand that if they are to effectively tap into the enormous market potential that women represent, they need to stop thinking of women as one monolithic group, and approach them in a more nuanced manner.

But advisors who really want to attract women and retain them as clients need to nuance that dialogue even further. Women do think differently from men when it comes to their finances, says Andrea Turner Moffitt, senior VP at the Center for Talent Innovation (CTI) and managing director at Hewlett Consulting Partners.

It’s important for advisors to take those differences into account, she says, but beyond that, there’s much more to understanding women and effectively serving them, not least because 58% of female wealth in the U.S. is not managed by a financial advisor.

“The [financial advisory] industry has had an increasing awareness of the importance of women for over a decade and there have been some great initial investments, but we need to move beyond those. What’s required is a mindset shift,” Turner Moffitt says.

In her new book, “Harness the Power of the Purse: Winning Women Investors,” Turner Moffitt outlines a six-step roadmap for advisors who want to make that mindset shift. The book details key investment decision-making factors – women’s confidence, acumen, investment goals and risk appetite among them – and unpacks the behaviors that individual advisors and wealth management leaders need to invoke to win women’s trust and loyalty as investors.

Turner Moffitt is the founder of Wealthrive, Inc., a start-up platform designed to inspire and empower women to be confident investors.

In her new book, she highlights the unconscious biases that many in the financial services industry continue to exhibit and the resulting costs in terms of missed market opportunities. Many advisors still limit the conversation to the basic issue of financial security, which is, of course, as important to women as it is to anyone else. Turner Moffitt says, however, that “women have a desire for much more, so the conversation needs to go way beyond that default, linear conversation that’s centered around financial security and retirement planning.”

The book aims to arm financial advisors with the power to have a deeper appreciation of what women investors want, to familiarize them with the tangible behaviors and traits that create the inclusive environment women are seeking both as clients and as employees, so that they can move beyond that linear conversation. That will allow an advisor to accurately understand who their client is, “whether she’s an inheritor, a spouse, a creator,” Turner Moffitt says. 

One of the most important traits of women investors that financial advisors have yet to fully understand is the rich impact many of them want to have on the world, she says. “They want to drive change for themselves, their families and their communities with a deeper and wider value proposition as investors,” she says.

CTI’s studies have shown that 99% of women want to invest with a socially responsible vent, which Turner Moffitt says “doesn’t mean philantropy as many advisors think it does.” Moreover, 74% of women want to invest in companies with diverse leadership.

“I found that women have a great desire to invest in women entrepreneurs,” and not just as angel investors she says.

Those advisors who make the effort to understand investors through a gender lens will be the best placed to attract and retain women as clients, Turner Moffitt says.

Turner Moffitt co-authored CTI’s global study on female investors in 2014 and advises companies on realizing growth opportunities in diverse markets.


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