Communication key to helping female investors, says SSGA

As women become more involved in investing, advisers need to address the way they interact with these investors rather than simply applying the same style they do for men, says State Street Global Advisors (SSGA).

An SSGA report, titled Closing the Gender Gap, which explores the role US women play in managing a household's investments as well as their understanding of investment, found the historically dominant presence of males in investing has meant planners' communication styles are tailored more to suit the needs of men than of women.

But as women become more informed and involved with a household's investments, advisers need to change their advice styles to better suit these investors' needs, SSGA said.

Advisers can do this by looking at the way they communicate with female investors, even informed female investors, the group said.

"Deliver quality information to help the informed investor gain a deeper understanding of investing and foster decision-making. Give her time to process the information; and don't badger her for a decision," the report said.

"For example, if a female client says she wants to think about it or look into it, offer online resources for further information.

"Past experience can either erode or build confidence. It's important to learn about the individual and those past experiences, which may help you better predict their confidence level and appreciate their decision–making approach," it said.

SSGA added that advisers need to appreciate each individual investor and not treat them as all the same.

"It is important to remember that there are typically more differences within populations than between populations. For example, age and socio-economic background are significant variables," the report said.

"Avoid applying gender stereotypes across the board. This can lead to erroneous or exaggerated judgments that can create a divide in your client relationships and negatively impact the planned outcome."

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