Phil Wickenden: We neglect female clients at our peril

Women are earning, inheriting and controlling more money than ever. Yet very few financial institutions are doing an outstanding job of attracting and serving them.

How you sell and deliver financial services to men is not the same as how you sell and deliver financial services to women.

Even if men and women end up buying the same thing, they may buy it for different reasons. Understanding these differences is vital. The more politically correct among us will cry foul at any mention of double standards or reinforced stereotypes in the division between men and women. I witness frequent guffawing at the suggestion there should be any difference in the advice proposition for men and women.

And perhaps it is more helpful to refer, at this juncture, to male and female energy. After all, each person has a certain percentage of male energy and female energy, regardless of anatomy or gender identity. Male to female energy ratios have little to do with societal concepts about masculinity and femininity. For instance, a man can be masculine, in terms of how most people traditionally think of masculinity, and have higher female energy.

With that huge caveat in mind, men and women (or those who identify strongly with either label or energy) speak in completely different languages, so much so it is often said we are from two different planets. That is because we kind of are. We think differently, speak differently and decide differently.

Given that the success of a business will be dependent on the quality of relationships advisers can keep rather than the volumes they can attract, truly “getting” this and reflecting it across the advice process will be key.

You can choose to ignore it. And that is fine. But I would challenge why you would not want to consider tailoring services to the unique needs of women, given 80 per cent of them will at some point be responsible for household finances, but more than 70 per cent of all women fire their adviser within one year of a husband’s death.

It is also worth bearing in mind that currently 42 per cent of all marriages end in divorce and women outlive men by five years on average.

There are, of course, exceptions to every rule but, by and large, we are different. As such, financial advice – and the delivery of it – should embrace and reflect the differences that exist.

Phil Wickenden is managing director at Cicero Research


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There are 2 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Phil

    You don’t even need the word ‘clients’ in the title.

    Just “We neglect females at our peril’is a stricture worth remembering – whether you are married or not!

  2. Christopher Petrie 13th November 2018 at 10:19 am

    Maybe I’m missing the point. But about half my clients are female, I work by asking about their circumstances, aims, goals and feelings towards risk.

    We discuss options, agree a plan, implement it then keep things under review.

    Just the same as I do with my male clients.

    So far as I can tell both are equally happy with our services.

    I treat my clients as important people, it seems to work

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