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Winning Women: Key Insights for Wealth Firms Targeting Today's Dynamic Female Clients

Wendy Spires, ClearView Financial Media, Global Head of Research, 6 December 2017

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New Research – “Winning Women: Key Insights for Wealth Firms Targeting Today’s Dynamic Female Clients”.

This Group’s Fifth European Family Wealth Forum, which took place in London yesterday, saw the launch of a very timely new report on women’s provision in wealth management. The research, produced in partnership with Boston Multi Family Office and Wealthmonitor, explores the sectors and regions where women are “winning” in the wealth stakes today, and outlines key ways firms might look to attract and retain their business.

Global wealth demographics have been going through seismic shifts in recent decades. Emerging markets have enjoyed explosive growth in their high and ultra-high net worth populations, while a new generation of younger clients has come to the fore. But it is the growth in women’s wealth that is arguably the most important change firms must adapt to: women are currently estimated to control around a third of the world’s total private wealth, with their financial strength growing at every level. 

Not only do female clients constitute a large segment, but they are also a highly attractive one inclined towards greater loyalty and advocacy of their trusted advisors. It is therefore paramount that firms do not continue to be largely “gender-blind” and make greater efforts to attract and retain their business.

This cutting-edge study is based on a survey of wealth-holders, entrepreneurs/business-owners, family office professionals and other advisors; along with proprietary data on liquidity events collated by Wealthmonitor. 

Over half our survey participants think women’s economic power and financial independence is growing rapidly around the world, and this is convincingly backed up by wealth creation trends. In Europe, female wealth steadily increased throughout the years between 2012 and 2016, with industrials and chemicals the top sector for wealth creation, followed by the consumer and technology sectors.

Many firms pay little heed to gender in their client strategies, but approaching two-thirds of participants think wealth managers should certainly take gender into account. Indeed, 34% see it as being of the utmost importance to an intelligent segmentation strategy. In this context, it is telling that 62% of wealth management professionals believe that the industry does not cater well to the specific wants and needs of female clients, and just one in ten sees women as very well served at present. 

 



Specific challenges to be tackled

As Katherine Ellis of Boston Multi Family Office and other contributors argue in the report, female UHNWIs and entrepreneurs face a raft of particular challenges throughout their wealth journeys, and particularly so in certain geographies and sectors. They may find themselves feeling isolated indeed when building up their businesses for instance. Firms committed to addressing these issues will therefore be well placed to build affinities with female wealth creators, and also to build out product and service offerings that are highly attuned to women’s specific needs. In order to help women achieve their goals and optimise their experience, the report found that specific advisor education should be a high priority; overall, a massive 82% of respondents advocated further training on this front. More broadly, 84% of participants believe that wealth firms need to have greater female representation in their workforces and leadership teams to better engage with wealthy women.

The report also looks in depth at the differences in how males and females invest, and how they define success in their own lives. Socially Responsible Investing and impact investing are thought to hold particular appeal for female investors, with 70% of respondents believing this to be the case.  Our expert panel also pointed out that firms targeting wealthy women also stand much to gain from providing networking, collaboration and mentoring opportunities for their clients, gaining the loyalty and trust of female wealth creators by helping them towards their goals in very concrete ways.

Females are increasingly households’ primary earners across developed countries, while labour market participation and education are improving in even the most previously restrictive regions. True, global gender equality may still be some way off, but we should all look forward to a time when half the world’s population will wield half its financial power – and wealth firms seeking genuine net new asset growth should be in particular.

 

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