Women are controlling more wealth and exercising more economic influence In the United States: women will inherit 70% of the projected $41 trillion intergenerational wealth transfer expected over the next 40 years.* And of particular importance to advisors, one study shows more than 53% of affluent women interviewed are interested in environmentally responsible investments.** So advisors who want to grow their practices through an SRI niche need to understand the best ways to reach women who are looking to invest with their values.
But as all advisors know, the gap between “I’m interested” and “Where do I sign” can sometimes seem as wide as the Grand Canyon. What is it that tips the scales in favor of using SRI strategies with women clients? It’s the relationship—that complicated alchemy of trust, respect, and the confidence to engage the risks and opportunities of the future based on shared values. Recent research shows that women investors are clear that they want to know and trust their advisor on a personal as well as a professional level.*** And as an added bonus, women are almost twice as loyal to their advisor as men are during difficult periods in the economy and financial markets.****
And More Relationships
I’m not suggesting that advisors abandon data and performance in positioning SRI with women clients. On the contrary, women expect to be informed and educated. But the important thing to remember is that you don’t have to be an SRI expert to bring tremendous value to your women clients. As an advisor, I counted on the expertise of my SRI business partners. They supported me in so many ways: helping me develop my knowledge of SRI, joining me in client meetings, and speaking at the many events I held for my clients. And my clients loved the fact that I brought so many experts to the table. The knowledge that they had access to products and services that satisfied their sense of purpose and mission in life strengthened our financial planning relationship.
What advisors should remember is that women clients expect you to bring the value of expertise to the relationship, but not always to be the expert yourself.
*“Women’s Views of Wealth and the Planning Process: It’s Values That Matter, Not Just Value,” Kristen Wojner and Chuck Meek, Advisor Perspectives, 3/1/11.
***Unleashing Potential: Women’s Initiative Annual Report, Deloitte Development LLC, 2010.
****Fidelity millionaire wealth and women executive summary, November 2012.