Choosing a financial advisor isn’t only about knowledge and investment acumen: it’s also about gender.
A research report entitled “Does Gender Really Matter?” released on Monday by Brinker Capital found that of the 323 men and women polled from 78 major financial institutions, one-in-four women are inclined to work with female advisors, while only one-in- ten men feel the same.
The gender of clients has a huge impact on everything from the initial selection of an advisor to the quality of the relationship to a client’s tolerance for underperforming investment decisions, Brinker found.
In addition, 34% of single females choose to work with female advisors compared to just 22% of married women.
Female clients are more likely than male clients to feel their advisors listen to them and understand their financial needs. Women also seem to learn from their advisors: 46% of females using an advisor say their advisor helps them build knowledge, while just 37% of male clients feel the same.
Female clients feel less knowledgeable than men about finance and investing and in turn are substantially more risk averse than male clients. Only 21% of female clients categorize themselves as being “extremely/very comfortable” in taking investment risk verses 42% of the men surveyed. Women are also more concerned about outliving their money, which isn’t surprising given they live longer and are more likely to be the caretaker of their families.
Meanwhile, 76% of female clients make joint decisions with their partners while only 39% of married male clients do.
The women polled also seemed to have more patience for disappointing returns then their male counterparts. Forty percent of female clients working with female advisors have a higher tolerance for losses compared to only 22% of male clients working with female advisors.
“We knew there would be some degree of disengagement between advice-driven investors and their financial advisors, based on the gender of each, but we were surprised to see that gender is an underlying issue in the needs, attitudes and satisfaction levels of female clients versus male clients who work with financial advisors,” said Noreen Beaman, Chief Operating Officer at Brinker Capital, in a press release. “Our study demonstrates that key gender issues continue to exist despite increasing parity between men and women in America. Additionally, it shows that progress still needs to be made in gender politics and the financial world.”
Married women are more likely than their husbands to believe that their advisors direct their advice to both them and their spouse. Only 29% of married women say their advisor directs their relationship solely to them, which could be a mistake, given that after a death or divorce, 47% of female clients are “extremely likely” to retain their advisor compared to only 32% of the male clients.
“This study gives us great insight into the relationship between gender and personal finance and shows that a ‘one-size-fits-all approach’ does not work for financial advisors,” said John Coyne, President at Brinker Capital.