Gender differences play a key role in how financial advisors should approach their clients, says a new survey that concludes there may be more differences between men and women's attitudes towards investing than previously thought.
At least one quarter of all women want to work with female advisors and compared to only 10% of men and the preference is even stronger for single women: 34% want a woman advisor, compared to 22% of married females.
Another striking difference for advisors to note is that married women are much more likely to include their spouse in financial decisions (76%) than are married men (39%).
The study, Does Gender Make a Difference?, surveyed 323 investors who use financial advisors from 78 different financial institutions. It was conducted by Brinker Capital Inc., an independent investment management firm in Philadelphia.
Women are much more likely to have faith in their female advisors than men, according to the survey. Some 40% of female clients working with female advisors express high tolerance for returns that do not meet expectations, compared to 22% of male clients working with female advisors.
For advisors in general, women are more confident in their advice and attention with 84% of women feeling their advisors listen and understand their financial needs, compared to 74% of men who feel the same. And 63% of women say their female advisors help them build knowledge, compared to 47% of women working with male advisors.
When spouses are involved, 63% of married women feel their advisors direct their relationship jointly to both members of the couple, while 41% of married men feel advisors direct their advice to both. Only 29% of married women say their advisor directs their relationship solely to them.
Upon the death of a spouse, more women (47%) say they are extremely likely to retain their advisor than men (32%).
"We were surprised to see that gender is an underlying issue in the needs, attitudes and satisfaction levels of female clients versus male clients who work with financial advisors," says Noreen Beaman, chief operating officer at Brinker Capital. "Key gender issues continue to exist despite increasing parity between men and women."
John Coyne, president of Brinker Capital, adds, "This study shows that a 'one size fits all approach' does not work for financial advisors." This should "serve as an effective tool for us to improve customer satisfaction and provide resources to the advisors we work with to further strengthen relationships with their clients"