Winning Women:Key Insights for Wealth Firms Targetting Today's Dynamic Female ClientsWe were delighted to be invited to participate in the WealthBriefing Research Report launched in London in December 2017 at the 5th WealthBriefing European Family Wealth Forum.

The report, produced in partnership with Boston Multi Family Office and Wealthmonitor, explores the sectors and regions where women are “winning” in the wealth stakes today, and outlines key ways firms might look to attract and retain their business.

“Global wealth demographics have been going through seismic shifts in recent decades. Emerging markets have enjoyed explosive growth in their high and ultra-high net worth populations, while a new generation of younger clients has come to the fore. But it is the growth in women’s wealth that is arguably the most important change firms must adapt to: women are currently estimated to control around a third of the world’s total private wealth, with their financial strength growing at every level.

Not only do female clients constitute a large segment, but they are also a highly attractive one inclined towards greater loyalty and advocacy of their trusted advisors. It is therefore paramount that firms do not continue to be largely “gender-blind” and make greater efforts to attract and retain their business.

This cutting-edge study is based on a survey of wealth-holders, entrepreneurs/business-owners, family office professionals and other advisors; along with proprietary data on liquidity events collated by Wealthmonitor. Over half our survey participants think women’s economic power and financial independence is growing rapidly around the world, and this is convincingly backed up by wealth creation trends. In Europe, female wealth steadily increased throughout the years between 2012 and 2016, with industrials and chemicals the top sector for wealth creation, followed by the consumer and technology sectors.

Many firms pay little heed to gender in their client strategies, but approaching two-thirds of participants think wealth managers should certainly take gender into account. Indeed, 34% see it as being of the utmost importance to an intelligent segmentation strategy. In this context, it is telling that 62% of wealth management professionals believe that the industry does not cater well to the specific wants and needs of female clients, and just one in ten sees women as very well served at present.”

The report highlighted specific challenges which needed to be tackled, including:

“Female UHNWIs and entrepreneurs face a raft of particular challenges throughout their wealth journeys, and particularly so in certain geographies and sectors. They may find themselves feeling isolated indeed when building up their businesses for instance. Firms committed to addressing these issues will therefore be well placed to build affinities with female wealth creators, and also to build out product and service offerings that are highly attuned to women’s specific needs. In order to help women achieve their goals and optimise their experience, the report found that specific advisor education should be a high priority; overall, a massive 82% of respondents advocated further training on this front. More broadly, 84% of participants believe that wealth firms need to have greater female representation in their workforces and leadership teams to better engage with wealthy women.

The report also looks in depth at the differences in how males and females invest, and how they define success in their own lives. Socially Responsible Investing and impact investing are thought to hold particular appeal for female investors, with 70% of respondents believing this to be the case.  Our expert panel also pointed out that firms targeting wealthy women also stand much to gain from providing networking, collaboration and mentoring opportunities for their clients, gaining the loyalty and trust of female wealth creators by helping them towards their goals in very concrete ways.

Females are increasingly households’ primary earners across developed countries, while labour market participation and education are improving in even the most previously restrictive regions. True, global gender equality may still be some way off, but we should all look forward to a time when half the world’s population will wield half its financial power – and wealth firms seeking genuine net new asset growth should be in particular.”

Noreen Cesareo, who gave views on marketing to female wealth-holders, business-owners and entrepreneurs said that, “The research is very timely and mirrors the findings I have come across in my own work and research in recent years on women’s economic empowerment, the UK Economic Blueprint for women-owned businesses and female entrepreneurs. The demographic is not well serviced, and as many firms are finding out,  pushing communications, collateral and product/service design that have been prepared to appeal to a different audience – typically one that is male, older and reflecting a different lifestyle to your target segment – will certainly fail. It is clear from feedback provided by female wealth-holders and entrepreneurs that most wealth management campaigns are clearly being focused on segments other than them. Jargonistic language which alienates women rather than convincing them to invest is a particular issue.

“The solution is to “get back to basics” and understand the drivers within the segment and communicate the organisation’s appreciation of them in a way which the type of women being targeted can relate to, fits their lifestyle (whatever that may be) and isn’t patronising. Life stage, family situation and source of wealth were just a few of the segmentation factors which will have an impact and have been identified as particularly worthy of attention when institutions are targeting women.”

Noreen Cesareo is involved in a number of international initiatives looking at diversity and female economic empowerment, including:

  • The UK Economic Blueprint, which will enable women to achieve their maximum potential and to participate fully in the country’s economic growth. It aims to help create the conditions for scalable women-owned businesses to gain a fairer share of business opportunities and contracts nationally. Lead: Team UK WBs Economic Blueprint : Marketing & PR; Access to Markets: Exports
  • The All Party Parliamentary Group for Women & Enterprise: lead on International Trade and Connections
  • WEIForward Team and Tech Platform