Now in control of $11 trillion in household investable assets, there’s no question that women have moved into the role of influential investors. The investment industry has taken notice, and is diligently seeking to engage female investors in a meaningful way. So why is it that only 39% of women feel understood by the investment industry, despite the increased focus and attention?
Gender stereotypes and fundamental service misalignments continue to stand in the way of the industry’s efforts to meet the needs of female investors. If we don’t change the conversation and engage women in ways that matter most to these investors, the risk of lost opportunities will continue to grow — for both financial advisors and female investors.
Moving Beyond Misperceptions
Women who seek out additional information and take more time to make investment decisions are often labeled as indecisive and less confident. To make matters worse, advisors who assume female investors prefer working with female advisors are missing the point of what female investors really want — an investment partner who demonstrates understanding and integrity, and can help guide her decision-making process.
Appreciating the female investor as an individual, while genuinely understanding how gender influences her investment experience, could lead to a tipping point — a real leap forward in gender intelligence that more closely aligns the industry with female investors.
Advisors can attract and retain female clients by focusing on the qualities she values most as an investor: knowledge, experience, honesty and empathy. To demonstrate these qualities as part of an overall client-centric value proposition, advisors can focus on four key aspects of the relationship:
1. Be a Collaborator, Not a Commander
Female investors tend to seek out more information before making a decision, to feel confident and well informed, and to avoid second guessing once a decision is made. Providing high-quality concise content on a regular basis will help them stay informed on relevant issues. Have a conversation — identify options and provide rationale. Offer solutions that directly relate to their long-term goals. Women want the facts — inform, don’t pitch — so that they can draw their own conclusions. By being her partner, you are better positioned to build confidence and support a woman’s desire to feel in control.
2. Focus on Goals and Outcomes
Focusing on the risks that matter and highlighting the elements of the decision-making process that are within her control will help the investor craft a risk-aware strategy that can be maintained with confidence. For many female investors, investment success is measured by progress toward meeting their long-term goals, as opposed to taking advantage of short-term ups and downs in the market.