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Advisors Are Keepers for Most Women Investors

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Widows may not be so eager to boot their advisors after all.

Most women—93% in the Silent Generation age group and 78% in the Generation X age group—say they would stay with their current advisor, even after the death of a spouse or partner, according to a new study from global asset manager Russell Investments.

They’re also likely to recommend their advisors to a friend or family member, with 54% of Gen X women (ages 32-47) and 64% of Silent Generation women (ages 67-80) saying they would do so. In addition to being loyal to their advisors, women in these two age groups are more likely than men to focus on long-term planning issues, the study found.

“Undoubtedly, women are an attractive target client segment for financial advisors given their growing economic power. They can be predisposed to take a longer-term perspective, are assuming greater responsibility for investing decisions and value tailored guidance from an advisor,” Jaylene Howard, consulting director for Russell’s U.S. advisor-sold business, said in a statement.

More than half of the Gen X and Silent Generation women, 52% and 63%, respectively, share the responsibility for managing their households’ savings and investments. Nearly one-third (29%) of Gen X women and one quarter (24%) of Silent Generation women have even more responsibility than their partners for managing their households’ finances, according to the findings.

Still, women continue to lack confidence in their investing knowledge. More than half (52%) of Gen X women and more than a third (35%) of Silent Generation women said they are “a little” or “not at all” knowledgeable about investing.

Women in these two age groups value advisors who are good listeners. The majority—86% of Gen X and 87% of Silent Generation women—cited active listening skills as the most important factor to a successful and lasting relationship with their advisors. 

The drivers of overall advisor satisfaction, however, varied by age group. For Gen X women, the strongest drivers of overall satisfaction are an advisor’s ability to provide effective recommendations tied to their concerns, adapt explanations to their level of knowledge and explain how decisions may affect them differently in the future. For Silent Generation women, providing personal service and establishing a personal connection outside the business relationship rank as the strongest drivers of satisfaction.

The study polled 501 Gen X and 400 Silent Generation women who worked with a professional financial advisor. The Gen X women had at least $100,000 in investable assets, while the Silent Generation women had investable assets of at least $500,000. The study also queried 343 advisors about their relationships with women in these age groups. It was conducted in March of 2013 by Mathew Greenwald & Associates.

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