Serving Women Investors:

 Three insights from leading advisors 

Article

October 26, 2021

By Laura McDowell, Director of Advisor Business Development and Client Engagement

Women represent an increasingly powerful force in investing as they gain a greater share of assets and the influence that comes with it. 

At Schwab Asset Management, we recognize the importance of this growing market, and to help advisors better engage and attract women investors, we tapped Cerulli Associates to explore the best practices of advisors who have demonstrated success in building practices tailored to women clients. 

What did we learn from the research? 

Women investors should not be viewed as a single market, but they do share life experiences that impact their preferences for how they invest. 

For example, women on average live longer than men and are more likely to step away from the workforce for caregiving responsibilities. The gender pay gap and a tendency to take on greater household responsibilities add to the complexities that women investors face. These factors can shape the concerns and planning needs of women investors in ways that differ from men. 

Here are three important takeaways from the study advisors can leverage to elevate their approach with women investors: 

  1. Know your audience: Women are drawn to advisors genuinely dedicated to women – but remember, this isn’t a one-size-fits-all market. Segmenting existing women clients by common attributes is the first step advisors should take toward developing client personas that they can tailor their services around. Client personas can be designed around common professions, life stages or personal interests. Once advisors identify commonalities, they can develop strategies aimed at that segment of the market – like building a network of like-minded women professionals, developing content on relevant topics, and advocating for causes important to their ideal clients. 

  2. Trust matters: Women point to trustworthiness, honesty and dependability as the top reason they are satisfied with their advisor, according to Cerulli data. This places a premium on building trust. How can advisors build trust with women clients? Frequent, collaborative communication is key. Advisors should be active listeners who demonstrate authenticity and empathy. When conversing with a male/female partnership, making sure both individuals feel supported, involved, and heard every step of the way is paramount. Encouraging questions, leading with education, demonstrating how you serve her best interests and continuously checking for understanding can go a long way in strengthening trust. 

  3. Keep your eyes on values and goals: Many women are more focused on reaching life goals and tying values to their investments over pure performance measures. Advisors looking to address key concerns of women should emphasize how their holistic plan and investment allocation aligns with their personal values and goals. Advisors can also consider integrating environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategies that reflect women investors’ values to help personalize portfolio construction. 

As the financial power of women continues to grow, so too will the demand for financial planning services designed to meet their needs. 

Advisors can build strong, trusting relationships with women investors through collaborative communication and an emphasis on goals and values. Those who can develop an authentic, empathetic approach that reaches a targeted segment of the market will be in the best position to attract and retain the assets of women investors in the years ahead. 

Check out the data

Check out the data 

Women investors present a unique opportunity for financial advisors, especially as women’s collective consumer power grows. 

View the full research study on advisor best practices when working with women investors to learn more. 

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METHODOLOGY

Schwab Asset Management engaged Cerulli Associates to help understand advisor best practices in working with women investors. In March and April 2021, Cerulli conducted qualitative research interviews with financial advisors who demonstrated success in building a practice that is tailored to women investors’ unique needs. Research participants were required to have a minimum of five years’ experience as an advisor, $50 million in client assets under management (AUM), and a majority of women clients. 

Schwab Asset Management is not affiliated with Cerulli Associates. All data was self-reported by survey participants, used with permission, and is not verified or validated. 

Schwab Asset Management is the dba name for Charles Schwab Investment Management, Inc. (CSIM), the investment adviser for Schwab Funds, Laudus Funds, Schwab ETFs, and separately managed account strategies. Schwab Asset Management is a part of the broader Schwab Asset Management Solutions organization (SAMS), a collection of business units of The Charles Schwab Corporation aligned by a common function—asset management-related services—under common leadership.