Financial advice failing women

Businesswoman in strife

It’s been a few days since International Women’s Day, and an investment manager has taken issue with the financial advice sector’s treatment of female clients.

State Street Global Advisors (SSGA) head of practice management Brie Williams says female investors have not been fully engaged by the financial services sector.

“The investor experience is evolving, investors are more sophisticated, demanding and more likely to be female these days,” Ms Williams said.

“However, as an industry, it seems we only have a surface level understanding of who the female investor is and the way were currently meeting her needs is not matching up with her significant economic impact as well as her growing influence in financial decision-making.”

This mismatch between investor and adviser expectations is striking.

While a SSGA survey revealed 56 per cent of advisers believe they understand their female clients, this does not match the reality.

“Only 39 per cent of women feel understood by [the financial advice] industry which clearly says theres some work to do,” Ms Williams said, adding that given the growing number and wealth of female investors, the industry needs to do more.

“Globally women control $40 trillion in investable assets and more than 70 per cent of consumer purchases today,” she said.

These figures are expected to grow in the coming years.

Over the next 40 years, 70 per cent of the $41 trillion in intergenerational wealth is expected to be transferred to females, according to SSGA research.

Ms Williams said it’s time advisers focus on individuals instead of relying on stereotypes and misconceptions.

“Ultimately, the question we want to be asking ourselves if we want to be having a truly client-centric approach is, ‘Does gender really matters when it comes to investing?’”

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