Katherine Mauzy of Edward Jones. Katherine Mauzy of Edward Jones.

According to the female advisors at Edward Jones, female investors in the U.S. are still underserved, even though they hold more than half the wealth.

Nearly three-quarters (70%) of female financial advisors polled at Edward Jones’ third annual Women’s Conference agreed that female investors in the U.S. are underserved.

The survey of 103 top-earning financial advisors was conducted on the grounds of the conference, which took place at the firm’s St. Louis headquarters from Feb. 22-24. Out of 3,100 of the firm’s female financial advisors, only the top 250 qualified to attend the conference.

The survey responses reinforced findings from the Center for Talent Innovations that 75% of women under 40 in the U.S. report not having a financial advisor. This amounts to more than $5 trillion in under-leveraged assets.

“With nearly 60% of wealth in the United States owned by women, amounting to over $11 trillion in assets, it is important that the financial services industry engages and deeply serves this critical group,” Katherine Mauzy, principal of Financial Advisor Talent Acquisition at Edward Jones, said in a statement.

According to the survey, word of mouth is the most popular strategy advisors use to attract clients. The survey finds that 94% of survey respondents reporting that leveraging existing client relationships is the strategy they choose when it comes to acquiring new female clients.

Partnering with other financial professionals was the second most used strategy among respondents (55%), while 30% believed creating women’s networking groups in the community was a strong way to garner business.

The female advisors surveyed also revealed that they think female clients are not the only ones being underserved.

According to the survey, 19% of respondents felt there have been no advancements made in the last three to five years to ensure women receive as equal an opportunity to men in the financial services industry. Meanwhile, 51% believe that advancements have been made, but there is still much work to be done to attract and retain female financial advisors.

“Although much work has been done in the financial services industry to level the playing field, there remains a gap in ensuring women are given the opportunities and tools they need to succeed,” said Monica Giuseffi, principal of Financial Advisor Inclusion and Diversity at Edward Jones.

According to the survey, 52% of respondents said that promoting qualified women to executive leadership positions is the best way to attract and retain female talent.

Second to leadership, 23% of female financial advisors cite offering internal networking and mentorship opportunities as the best strategy. Seventeen percent think providing more generous maternity leave policies and benefits is most effective, while only 8% see guaranteeing and enforcing equal pay for equal work as the best strategy.

— Check out Edward Jones, Seeking Seasoned FAs, Gets a Recruiting Makeover on ThinkAdvisor.