As I talk to clients around North America, many increasingly mention the growing number of women investors. What is surprising to me: many firms I speak with have not yet fully determined how to flip their wealth management advisory model to serve the needs of women. In fact, some have not even conducted client research to understand what women’s specific needs are.

Given that traditional wealth management was always driven by men’s investing needs, many large financial firms seem to have some work to do. A lack of action is a dangerous proposition at a time when some up-and-coming fintechs have designed their entire business around the needs of women investors.

Accenture recently conducted research to help our clients better understand what women want in wealth management—and how to begin to address those needs. In short, women make great clients for firms looking for holistic, relationship-based outcomes.

While we found major differences in a variety of areas, I’ll highlight three here: confidence, understanding and communication.

Confidence. Only 5 out of 10 women feel confident in their investing ability, versus seven out of 10 men. However, women are extremely open to financial education, which gives firms the opportunity to draw them in, better educating them to increase confidence and trust levels.

Understanding. 6 out of 10 women say they have a good understanding of their investments, versus 8 out of 10 men. Improving this statistic goes beyond financial educational events to the advisor relationship. Advisors need to be touching base more frequently with women and verifying their understanding of their financial position.

Read the report.

Communication. 4 out of 10 women talk to their advisor quarterly or more about retirement planning, versus six out of 10 men. Given women’s career gaps and the gender wage gap overall, this is not often enough. Advisors need to be more proactive about regular communications on life goals.

These differences in investing are just the tip of the iceberg and are simply trends—to truly address the needs of female investors, wealth management firms need to become familiar with the key segments of women within the category. For more on women’s preferences on everything from fee structure to risk tolerance, check out my latest paper on our study: “Reinventing Wealth Management for Women.”

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