It seems the working relationship between financial advisors and females on the whole remains a work in progress. And while discussions about how to bridge the gap between them has become a hot-button topic at industry conferences and the subject of white papers and studies from financial services firms, there’s still a ways to go.

“Women reported feeling frustrated around the advisor’s overemphasis on product and portfolio, and single professional women reported not enough questions being asked by the advisor around their unique situation,” said Andrea Turner Moffitt, managing director at Hewlett Consulting Partners and co-author of Power of the Purse: Financial Services, a global study of female investors. “They are often boxed into traditional linear retirement conversations about what their assets might be used for in terms of family. Financial advisors need to develop the emotional awareness to create that space women need to ask questions and feel understood as investors.”

Pershing last month released a report, entitled “Women: Investing with a Purpose,” that looks at what motivates female investors. It also examines the way women differ from men in how they view their relationships with advisors, and it considers other challenges such as the likelihood women will live longer lives and make less money during their working years than men.

According to Pershing (a provider of services for broker-dealers and RIAs), women investors place greater emphasis on an advisor’s soft skills—how the advisor understands their goals, listens to their needs and patiently answers their questions. The report also identified four common goals that motivate women to invest: retirement; education; lifestyle flexibility; and legacy and continuity.

“These findings suggest that an important factor is being overlooked by advisors working with women investors, and that is the purpose behind the reasons they invest,” said Kim Dellarocca, managing director at Pershing. “This missing factor may contribute to why 35% of women respondents who do not use a financial advisor say they don’t trust [that] financial advisors are working in their interests. The reality is that a woman’s desired level of understanding can be different, which requires advisors to explore concerns, goals and trade-offs with greater directness and rigor.”

Dellarocca said women don’t necessarily prefer a female advisor, but they do appreciate diversity in the firm they are working with and they want to invest in companies that have diversity in their leadership.

As for diversifying the financial advisor profession, that too remains a work in progress. “We believe that an increase in the number of women financial advisors will help to address these issues,” said Curtis Arledge, vice chairman of BNY Mellon and CEO of Investment Management.

Arledge noted that a common challenge for women in retirement is that they will outlive their spouse and be left with a house but no liquidity.

“Every client is different, but, overall, financial advisors need to be aware of products that can help a single woman manage her home as it becomes a larger portion of her overall retirement portfolio,” he said.

BNY Mellon recently launched a home equity retirement solutions business to address this situation. “We believe that managing home equity will be an important part of retirement going forward, and although reverse mortgages have not always been used appropriately, rules have changed around being able to tap into this equity later in life,” Arledge said.