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'There's profit in sex' SMSF specialists told

Advisers would benefit from a greater number of female clients and should adopt assertive strategies to attract women, delegates at the SMSF Professionals’ Association of Australia national conference in Melbourne have heard.

“There is profit in sex,” independent investment management executive Patricia Curtin told the audience of self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF) advisers and trustees.

“Women present the greatest opportunity to advisers since the introduction of superannuation,” she added.

Curtin said the financial services industry as a whole needs to take advantage of the fact that women are now savvier and, as a group, are showing increasing interest in seeking financial advice, a trend supported by the findings of the recently-released Russell Investments-SPAA report.

The report found that women are more likely to seek financial advice than men, with 24 per cent of female SMSF trustees indicating interest in financial planning services, compared to 12 per cent of male trustees.

Adressing the same audience, Olivia Maragna, general manager of Aspire Retire and the 2012 Association of Financial Advisers (AFA) Adviser of the Year, said the findings backed up trends she has experienced in her practice for a long time.

“Women are keen to learn more about money but need assistance to know how to go about that,” she said. “Women also make good clients because they have realistic return expectations and are generally pleasant to work with.”

Maragna said that adopting a strategy to attract female clients would lead to greater revenue, referrals and retention.

Citing a number of case studies, she said women are more likely to refer clients to a trusted adviser and more likely to stay loyal once trust is earned.

“Up to 70 per cent of referrals at Aspire Retire come from women,” she said. “Women talk.”

Advisers need to approach women clients differently from men, she continued, focusing on empathy, long-term goals and developing an emotional relationship with a client, rather than on investment returns and using financial jargon.

She said women traditionally have a different risk appetite to men and that advisers should take this higher risk aversion into account when dealing with female clients.