On some topics, it is true that women feel they relate better to other women, and men feel they relate better to other men.
On the topic of finances and investing, that gender-based generalization does not hold.
Spectrem’s exhaustive study of wealthy women, Successfully Growing Your Business with Wealthy Women, which examines the beliefs of women with a net worth over $1 million on topics such as working, parenting, and finances, asked if the gender of a financial advisor matters to them, thinking that they might have a preference between a male or female advisor.
The answer is “No.” Gender does not matter. So get that idea out of your mind.
The proof is in the numbers.
According to Successfully Growing Your Business with Wealthy Women, “gender of the advisor” is the least important trait women consider when choosing a new advisor. Asked to rate the importance of certain traits on a 0-to-100 scale, women rated “gender” at 23.36, well below the rating of every other trait considered.
For comparison, women rated “reputation based on referrals from trusted associates” at 78.38, and “company they work for” at 72.20. Not quite reaching the mid-point is “age of the advisor” at 48.54 (which does not necessarily mean “same age as the investor” as some younger people might prefer an older and presumably wiser advisor).
“Advisor is in the same life stage” as the investor was rated at 35.91 (the thinking being that some investors might want to talk to someone going through the same financial pressures they are), and that was followed well below by “gender of the advisor”.
There was virtually no difference in the response based on the age of the woman. Women who consider themselves part of the World War II generation even rated it lower than the average, at 22.10.
The research shows trends based on the lack of interest. For instance, wealthier women were less likely to care about the gender of their advisor, and segmented by occupation, the rating for “gender of the advisor” could hardly be lower: Senior Corporate Executives rated it at 18.90, Business Owners put the rating at 16.50 and Managers had “gender’’ rated at 16.36 in terms of importance.
This is remarkably telling to any advisor or financial provider. It simply does not matter to wealthy women whether they are paired with a woman as an advisor or a man. There are certainly other traits advisors have that might matter, but gender is not one of them.
The “age’’ question ended up with a mid-range response, and there is some belief that young investors like to work with more seasoned (read: older) advisors. A Spectrem study a couple of years ago showed investors photographs of different people and asked them which they would prefer as a new advisor, and the older (and Caucasian) advisors were most often selected, whether they were male or female.
So wealthy women want to work with reputable advisors who work for reputable firms, and they do not care whether they are paired with a male or female advisor. They care about investment results, just like men do.