Financial Services: What Women Want from a Wealth Manager

Financial Services: What Women Want from a Wealth Manager

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What Women Want from a Wealth Manager

A Market Interview with a Female Consumer in Europe
Financial Services, Marketing & Sales
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    About This Video
    • Martine lives in Madrid. She is well-versed in financial matters, but she recognizes the value of wealth managers having a dedicated approach to serving women. The challenge, she says, would be in communicating this offering to potential clients.

    • Nancy lives in Washington, DC. She is knowledgeable about financial matters and is comfortable with managing her own wealth. But she also sees that some women—like her mother—need a different level of service from their wealth managers.


    Wealth managers and private banks are working hard to win back or retain clients in the wake of crisis, but many are overlooking a massive and increasingly important group.

    As wealth management clients, women are both significant and undervalued, according to a BCG White Paper, Leveling the Playing Field: Upgrading the Wealth Management Experience for Women. They control about 27 percent of the world’s wealth (meaning that they decide where the assets are invested), yet more than half of the women we surveyed feel that wealth managers could do a better job of meeting the needs of female clients—and nearly a quarter think that wealth managers could significantly improve how they serve women.

    Many wealth managers either overlook women as a discrete and important group or else use superficial strategies to reach them. In fact, some of the most common approaches are worse than ineffective—they can alienate the very clients they’re meant to attract, particularly if they revolve around “women labeled” products, pitches, or promotions that come across as patronizing or contrived. By recognizing both the importance of women and the reasons why so many are disappointed with the industry, wealth managers can attract new clients and strengthen loyalty. And they can do so by fine-tuning, rather than reinventing, their approach to serving clients.

    BCG recently spoke with two women—one in Europe and one in the United States—about their views on the ability of wealth managers to serve women clients.

    Martine: Time efficiency, for me, is fundamental. It’s important for me to have a financial advisor who uses my time very effectively.

    Nancy: I just need someone who’s really competent. What I care about is tactically getting tasks done that you say you’re going to do, doing them effectively, and doing them on time.

    Martine: One thing I really don’t like in a banker is somebody who is going to strictly look to sell the product from his institution as opposed to what is best, given my needs.

    Trust is everything.

    Martine: It is a personal relationship. And that’s why, for me, private banking is very different from retail banking. Retail banking is not a personal relationship. Private banking is a personal relationship.

    Nancy: My investment advisor has taken my mom out to dinner. They’ve gone to classical music concerts together, because it’s a shared interest. I think it’s really enabled my mom to build up both faith and a personal sense of responsibility that she feels that our investment advisor has in her outcomes.

    Martine: Know me. Know how I operate. Know how to work with me. Understand what my needs are.

    Do women have different needs?

    Nancy: Some women have distinct needs, and some women really don’t

    Martine: Because I work in finance, I have a certain level of financial knowledge, so I obviously don’t expect the same kind of information or discussion that someone with no financial knowledge would need.

    Nancy: While I’m reasonably financially literate and comfortable, my mother is not. When she got into a situation where she needed to be a little bit more capable on her own, our advisor has been very good about being really patient. There’s a whole population of women who don’t know much and don’t really know where to start, and have a distinct and different set of needs.

    Martine: There’s certainly a segment of women customers of wealth managers who will need a much more hands-on or complete type of advice. They need to have a level of support that’s probably much higher than what an average male customer would need.

    Would a women-focused approach appeal to you?

    Martine: When car manufacturers started thinking of women as drivers of cars, as opposed to passengers of cars, and as women who had kids and needed to worry about where the baby seat was, or the groceries or the dog, then suddenly cars were much more women-friendly.

    If an institution makes the effort of targeting women and focusing on women as customers of wealth management, what it tells me is that they will have done the research and also probably trained account managers and relationship managers. I think it’s a good strategy. It’s to be decided what is the best way to communicate it to potential customers.

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