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Women are creating and accumulating wealth at an accelerated pace, and by 2028 it is estimated they will control 75% of discretionary spending globally.

And yet, in spite of such encouraging trends, many women feel they are not getting the right kind of support.

For example, male-business owners are still more likely than women to break the $1 million revenue threshold, and women and minorities both receive less funding than male entrepreneurs. Similarly, of the HNW women that outlive their spouses, 70% end up changing advisors within a year of their partner passing away.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, we are starting to see new partnerships and interesting ways of collaborating emerge in response to this. Innovative new strategies for acquisition, service and retention centre around four components: developing content that is in sync with the target audience, establishing communities and forums with affinity groups for insight sharing, coaching existing male advisors on unwritten rules and behavioural differences, and recruiting more female advisors to encourage greater engagement.

The international behemoth UBS, for example, recently launched UBS Unique – an advisory board comprised of female entrepreneurs, philanthropists and business leaders to help create a five-year plan that specifically targets female HNWs. According to its co-founder Olga Miler: “Meaningful and lasting change can only happen when it is done in partnership with the people who can influence that change” so together they hope to create products and services that will begin to address some of the challenges women face today. This includes, but is not limited to, improving financial literacy and building investment confidence.

Citibank and Women & Co joined forces to form a similar partnership several years ago. By delivering insightful content and customised commentary on financial topics from a female point of view, Citibank finds the forum helps foster loyalty and often leads to higher quality referrals.

Moreover, the shift in lifestyles and demographics of HNW women increasingly calls for a specialised approach to servicing them. In the US, women are starting businesses 1.5 times faster than men and, on average, outlive their partners by three to four years. In spite of this, many have no will (30%), health proxy (51%) or power of attorney (66%) – suggesting advisors need to be more aware, and perhaps even targeted, in helping women in specific situations understand wider implications of their circumstances.

Established players like Janus Henderson have consequently developed programmes to help advisors deal with ‘tough conversations’ such as divorce and widowhood. Their Women and Wealth programme is split into modules, each designed to improve social and emotional intelligence around the strategies best suited for female clients at certain pivotal life events, while also improving understanding of broader behavioural nuances, such as the fact that it may take longer to close a deal with female client.

Meanwhile high-profile former Wall Street female executives, frustrated by lack of progress, are also entering the arena. For example, Ellevest, a digital investment platform, is exclusively focused on educating and serving women through their different life stages and is hoping to inject a fresh perspective into the market.

The broad range of initiatives being floated therefore suggests the industry is making steps towards change. And while finding ways to represent HNW women and (re)define propositions specifically towards them may include a degree of trial and error, one thing is clear – failure to dial into what HNW female clients need from their wealth advisors will be more costly.

Thought of the week:

“If you make listening and observation your occupation, you will gain much more than you can by talk.” – Robert Baden-Powell

News from the world of wealth:

World’s witnessing a new Gilded Age as billionaires’ wealth swells to $6tn – The Guardian

Russia’s improving economy leaves privatization out in the cold – Reuters

FCA to tap into FinTech ecosystem outside London – BusinessCloud

Hong Kong needs to get its act together on FinTech – Ejinsight

Zeno Staub: The Old Swiss Private Banking Is No More –


ELIZABETH_ADEOYE_Author: Elizabeth Adeoye, Analyst

Education: Elizabeth holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from the University of Birmingham. Here, she was particularly involved in entrepreneurial activities and conducted a range of fascinating research projects.

Background: Elizabeth was born in London and raised in Nigeria before returning to the UK for her studies. Before embarking on the graduate scheme, Elizabeth undertook various summer internships at Rothschild & Co, Linguist Translation Services in China and Hays Recruitment Agency.

And at the weekends: Elizabeth spends her weekends reading for leisure, catching up with friends and family, but most importantly – coming up with new and creative reasons not to go to the gym! It is a real talent.

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