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Are female advisers better positioned for the $14T opportunity?

Mar 7, 2012 @ 1:48 pm

By Mark Bruno

Right now, women control an estimated $8 trillion in investable assets. By 2020, that figure is projected to grow to a staggering $22 trillion, as INTV reported last month from the TD Ameritrade Institutional Conference.

Who could be in the best position to capitalize on this growth? A number of factors will obviously influence an advisory firm's ability to attract female clients, or a larger share of their existing female clients' assets.

But a preliminary finding from an InvestmentNews 'Women & Investing' survey, which we pushed into the field yesterday, confirms what many of us already expected - and could offer a glimpse into the future of wealth management.

Roughly half of the female advisers surveyed yesterday - 49.3% to be exact - said that the majority of their clients are female.

Male advisers that participated in the survey, meanwhile, had less success with female clients: Just 38.9% of the male advisers that participated in the survey said that the majority of their clients are female, by comparison. (To participate in the Women & Investing survey, click here.)

Over the next several months, through a series of webcasts, videos and a special report, InvestmentNews will explore all of the complex elements that could factor into building - and maintaining - successful relationships with female clients.

But yesterday's preliminary findings would suggest there's at least one clear component to expanding an advisory firm's base of female clients - employ more female advisers.

Easier said than done, of course, as there are substantially more male advisers than female advisers at the moment. The CFP Board, for example, said that of its 65,361 members at the end of February, 76.4% were male.

And not only will there be competition for female advisers in the coming years, our survey has also helped measure just how much emphasis advisers are placing on pursuing a larger base of female clients: 81.2% of firms are actively seeking more female clients right now.

The biggest obstacle in attracting female clients? Advisers in the survey admitted that they do not understand how to market to women, the single biggest factor impairing their ability to develop relationships with more female clients.

InvestmentNews will offer intelligence for addressing this issue - and other challenges - in the coming months, along with the complete results of the Women & Investing survey. To weigh in, click here.

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