Affluent women are more “advisor oriented” than affluent men, according to the latest Global Wealth Monitor from Phoenix Marketing International, meaning they’re more likely to let their advisor make most or all of their financial decisions for them, or to consult with an advisor regularly but make the final call on their own.
The survey identified three “pillars” that lead to higher levels of satisfaction in relationships between advisors and clients with $100,000 or more in investable assets: proactiveness, empathy and collaboration. These qualities were especially important to female investors.
“What we found pretty much across the board is that advisors have been able to form very strong relationships on each of those pillars,” David Thompson, managing director of the affluent practice for Phoenix, told ThinkAdvisor on Tuesday. “The difference is the willingness of the affluent women to interact with the advisor, to be engaged, to be less resistant to advice.”
The relationship between advisors and clients is “very dynamic” already, Thompson said, and “advisors who have been successful at creating those relationships generally have very loyal” clients among their affluent female clients.
For example, compared with male investors, women rated their advisors significantly higher on proactive qualities like following up quickly on requests, reallocating portfolios to keep them in line with risk tolerance and identifying problems or opportunities when they arise.
Taking time to understand a client’s needs, goals and risk tolerance was a key quality for female investors, followed by the ability to explain financial analysis clearly.
Women were much more likely to value collaborative qualities than men. Eighty percent of women rated their advisors highly for their ability to look at their entire financial picture, compared with 69% of men. Providing access to other professional resources or educational tools was also important to affluent female investors.
Thompson pointed out that the majority of female respondents in the survey were unmarried and were making financial decisions for themselves: 60% compared with 46% of men.
“That stat in and of itself is not important except that when you have women who don’t have a spouse to bounce ideas off of, they’re going to turn to other sources for advice.”
Part of that 60% of unmarried women includes widows, which Thompson said are a “very important statistic” for wealth managers working with affluent couples. “Let’s say they’ve been working with an affluent couple for 40 years, and the husband who may have been the primary decision maker passes on,” he said. “Now the widow doesn’t necessarily have a strong relationship with the wealth manager and may be looking elsewhere for assistance.”