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3 Ways Advisors Can Better Serve Female Investors

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What You Need to Know

  • Focus on a segment of the female investor market and tailor your approach.
  • Foster a sense of collaboration.
  • Offer multigenerational planning services and financial literacy programming.

Financial advisors can attract, retain and strengthen client relationships with female investors, an increasingly influential but underserved market, by understanding how to serve their needs, according to a white paper released Tuesday by Cerulli, in partnership with Schwab Asset Management.

Cerulli notes that women represent 51% of the U.S. population; they have surpassed men in college education rates and are increasingly assuming corporate leadership positions.

The research lays out three ways advisors can enhance their client experience for female investors.

1. Choose a market segment and tailor your approach.

To capture women’s business, advisors have to identify a market segment that best aligns with their services, processes and personal passions. True, women are not a single market, but within a specific demographic, they are more likely to share interests, needs and preferences.

After identifying a segment based on profession, life stage and other common attributes through which they can connect with prospective female clients, advisors can develop a tailored approach and set of resources that addresses these investors’ needs.

“Ultimately, a clear segmentation strategy translates to clarity and intentionality in all other aspects — from authentic business development to targeted service delivery,” Marina Shtyrkov, associate director at Cerulli, said in a statement.

2. Encourage open communication.

The research found that 1 in 5 female investors consider the relationship with their advisor and the advisor’s trustworthiness the driving force behind overall satisfaction. By normalizing and encouraging questions, and routinely checking for understanding, advisors are more likely to connect with female investors of any level and convey a collaborative tone.

Shtyrkov said that in order to build trust with female investors, advisors should foster a sense of collaboration, apply active listening skills and engage both spouses equally. “This includes nonverbal communication, use of inclusive language and proactive outreach,” she said.

3. Focus on goals-based planning.

In qualitative research interviews with advisors, Cerulli observed that female investors are more inclined than men to engage in a holistic, goals-based process that prioritizes financial planning over investment performance. 

It is, therefore, incumbent on advisors who want to work with women to consider how their financial planning and portfolio construction process reflects female investors’ specific needs.

Cerulli pointed out that for women, investments are more likely to be a vehicle for realizing their goals, so emphasizing the portfolio’s alignment with their values and objectives is critical for advisors who want to address their key concerns. 

For instance, given that women are often the primary caretakers for their children or aging parents, advisors can bolster their value proposition to female investors by offering multigenerational planning services and financial literacy programming for clients’ children to enhance.

“Women are a formidable force increasingly climbing to the highest corporate leadership positions,” Laura McDowell, regional director at Schwab Asset Management, said in the statement. “Advisors who can effectively identify a targeted segment of the women investor market and employ an empathetic approach to serving their needs will be best positioned to win and retain their assets.”


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