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The Top Three Myths about Women Investors

March 27, 2012

by Lisa Kueng

Advisor Perspectives welcomes guest contributions. The views presented here do not necessarily represent those of Advisor Perspectives.

Lisa Kueng

Successful marketing requires an understanding of your target market.  Too often, however, advisors are misled by outdated industry ideas and strategies that have shifted over time.  Advisors who target women investors should avoid myth-based errors that others have made.

My friend, whom I’ll call Lauren (she requested I use a pseudonym), is a successful consultant with a good reputation and an international resume.  She enjoys her considerable disposable income, her spacious Chicago condo, and weekends at her vacation home in Wisconsin. 

But she doesn’t especially like her financial advisor.

“I need to be more proactive about investing and money in general, but I don’t have the extra time to focus on it,” she told me recently over drinks on her poolside terrace. ”My current advisor is okay, but he doesn’t really feel right to me.”

Why not?  What does an advisor have to do to “feel right” to her?  What’s Lauren looking for and, in general when it comes to financial advisors, what do women really want?

My firm, Invesco, set out to answer those questions with a series of qualitative focus groups in the US and Canada.  Women participating in the groups already worked with financial advisors and had at least $100,000 of investable assets; many of them had much more.  What we heard surprised us – and what was even more interesting was what we didn’t hear. 

This research debunked three myths about women investors in particular:  (1) That advisors who promote themselves as “focusing on women clients” will be more likely to attract them; (2) that it’s important to focus on the unique challenges women face, and (3) that, because women are more relationship-oriented, they may not be as concerned about taking action and aiming for results.

Myth No. 1:  Seminars, networking events and other marketing initiatives designated as being “women- focused” will convey that you’re serious about cultivating a female clientele.

You want to build a female clientele, so you say that you do.  You offer a “Women and Investing Seminar.”  Maybe you invite your best female clients to a “Women’s Spa Outing” or similar event.  You state on your web site and in your marketing materials that the “unique needs of women” are a focus of yours.  What could be easier?  Marketing 101, right?