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Investors Say No to Gendered Advice, Marketing

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What You Need to Know

  • Only 24% of investors surveyed want to work with a financial professional who customizes advice based on gender.
  • As to where the differing needs lie, 60% cited career considerations, 56% said long-term care planning and 55% said budgeting.
  • Survey responses indicate that younger generations are likelier than older ones to have received gendered marketing materials.

Fifty-two percent of investors agree that women and men have different financial needs, but only 24% want to work with a financial professional who customizes advice based on gender, according to survey data released this week by Hartford Funds, an asset manager.

Where do the differences in men’s and women’s needs lie? Sixty percent of respondents cited career considerations, 56% cited long-term care planning and 55% said budgeting.

Despite these differences, 46% said men and women should receive the same educational material on financial topics. 

Both men and women in the survey ranked email as their top choice for receiving marketing materials from a financial professional, followed by websites and printed brochures. 

Within those mediums, 52% value materials that are easy to understand above all else, 37% appreciate materials that emphasize an individualized plan and 31% like those that showcase how sound investment advice and decisions help support lifestyle goals. 

“While there’s been a lot of conversation in the financial services industry about gender’s role in finance, one thing is clear: Investors want sound, personalized advice,” Julie Genjac, managing director of applied insights at Hartford Funds, said in a statement. 

“Financial professionals must account for the different realities that men and women face without compromising the quality of advice, customization of plans or client service.” 

Engine Insights’ CARAVAN fielded the online survey in early November among 904 consumers whose annual household income is $75,000 or more or household’s total investable assets are $75,000 or more. 

Reaching the Next Generation 

The survey found that 65% of Generation Z and millennials feel that men and women have different financial needs, compared with 46% of older generations. At the same time, more than half of respondents across generations agree that financial advice should not differ based on gender. 

Still, survey responses indicate that younger generations are likelier than older ones to have received gendered marketing materials. 

“When financial professionals think about the future of client acquisition, an understanding of their clients’ lifestyle goals will be key for marketing to millennials and Gen Z,” Genjac said. “The next generation of clients has more options than ever when it comes to financial advice, and marketing strategies need to reflect that reality.” 

Here’s how the younger and older generations rank different mediums for receiving marketing or prospecting materials:

  • Email: Gen Z and millennials, 27% vs. older generations, 32%
  • Website: 18% vs. 22%
  • TV advertisement: 9% vs. 9%
  • Printed brochures: 5% vs. 21%

In addition, 23% of younger respondents listed social media as a preferred channel.

Younger and older generations have similarities and differences in the types of content that drive them to engage with a financial professional. More than half of all respondents want materials that are easy to digest.

At the same time, 42% of younger respondents also want lifestyle-oriented materials, compared with 25% of older investors.

When they consider product-related offerings, both generations mainly value materials that highlight long-term growth, followed by those that communicate investment goals and then those that track performance against a well-known benchmark. 

Materials that communicate a product’s environmental, social and governance considerations fall lower on the list; however, 32% of millennials and Gen Z consider these important, compared with 17% of older generations.