Wealth managers targeting female clients should place the emphasis firmly on investment performance, letting hard numbers do the talking rather than “pinking up” their offering, according to a new research from Schwab Advisor Services.
The Financial Independence Study found that women consider continuous, good investment performance to be more important than having a long-term financial plan (58 per cent versus 39 per cent). Long-term financial planning is still a priority however. When asked what they want their advisors to consider, long-term financial needs was picked by 84 per cent of respondents, followed by the whole financial picture (82 per cent) and current life stage (70 per cent). Perhaps surprisingly, their children’s financial needs was a consideration cited by only 35 per cent of those surveyed.
At the same time, 40 per cent of respondents also want advisors to take into consideration their immediate need for return on investments. Advisors clearly need to be hitting several bases when marketing their services to female clients and taking a holistic view of their lives and needs – after all, the HNW female of today is as likely to be an entrepreneur or hedge fund supremo as she is to be a widow or divorcee.
The subject of how to target female clients was dealt with in depth in WealthBriefing’s latest research report Reaching Out To The High Net Worth. Here, the industry experts warned against targeting women in a patronising or reductive manner which gives precedence to gender over other elements of their make-up such as career/business stage. That said, females do have distinct needs, if only by virtue of the fact that they have slightly different lifecycles and so it’s arguable that branding and marketing does have to be tweaked to specifically target women. This was borne out by Reaching Out To The High Net Worth, which found that wealth management professionals largely think that male and female clients should be approached differently from a marketing perspective: over three-quarters of respondents (76 per cent) felt that such a distinction should be made.
That women are increasingly wealthy in their own right was borne out by the fact that 65 per cent of the 500 HNW women surveyed by Schwab said they consider themselves to be financially independent.
That said, women clearly value shared financial decision-making, with 67 per cent of HNW females reporting that they share retirement planning decisions with their spouses or partners and 62 per cent consulting with them on investment decisions. The corresponding figures for health/medical, home maintenance, household budgeting and children’s education were 64, 56, 56 and 51 per cent respectively. Some women would like more of a say, with 29 per cent of married women saying that they would like to be more involved in the financial decisions for their household. When it came to choosing a financial advisor, the sample were broadly split between having chosen independently or sharing the decision with a partner. Three quarters of the women surveyed have an advisor, and, of these, 25 per cent chose the advisor themselves and 37 per cent chose together with their spouse or partner. In a related finding, 89 per cent of married women consider it somewhat or very important that the advisor meet with the couple together when investments are shared.