High Net Worth

Serving Them Effectively

Women whose investment advisors listen, inform and help align their investments with life goals are much more likely to be satisfied, trusting and loyal to their advisors than to advisors who don’t exhibit these behaviors. Women also prefer to invest their money in a way that is consistent with their values. Understanding how to interact with women investors not only builds the bottom line but has a potentially transformative impact on society. This panel explored how to serve high net worth women effectively with both a goals-based financial planning approach and stronger relationship management.

Key Points

  • In the United States, total investable assets are close to US$30 trillion today. Women control 39% of this. By 2030 women are projected to control 67%, having gained it through their own wealth creation and through inheritance.
  • Globally we are seeing dramatic rises in the number of millionaires, with 920,000 adding to the ranks in 2014 alone.
  • Wealth management profitability is converging around 20 to 25 bp (of assets) in almost every region. This earnings potential and the liquidity profile of the business makes wealth management an attractive market.
  • The JD Power study on investor satisfaction in the US, which surveyed 53,000 individuals who have full-service wealth management from a variety of firms, found that the quality of the investment advisor was the key driver of satisfaction.
  • While women and men were equally satisfied, a number of myths emerged about women that need to be understood and dispelled:
    • Myth 1: Women lack financial literacy. Reality: this is masking the fact that women have less confidence in their knowledge.
    • Myth 2: Women don’t want to be involved in managing their money. Reality: Women want a collaborative relationship with their financial advisor.
    • Myth 3: Women advisors will deliver a better experience to women investors. Reality: Women value a relationship based on trust, irrespective of the gender of the advisor.
  • Recruiting and training advisors with the right relationship building skills and not just technical skills is critical to capturing this market.
  • Banks with Women’s Market strategies should definitely develop a strategy for High Net Worth women. They are a very profitable segment and want the same from the bank as all women — inputs that increase their confidence. That means more and better information, education and networking.
  • They are concerned about estate planning and succession planning in the family. Generally, women value their advisors and are close to them. They seek a lot of information.
  • In Westpac, the High Net Worth relationship managers use the ‘Ruby’ brand and online platform to build networks of affluent customers within their client base and beyond. The High Net Worth level of service is obviously high touch, and affluent women like to be networked with other affluent women. They get to associate and exchange ideas with other high net worth people not in their current social circles.
  • In Canada, TD Bank saw a 33% increase in female investable assets by training their advisors on understanding women’s priorities and doing a more effective job working with women. They typically invite women investors to talk about their goals and concerns as investors.

  • Itaú found differences between men and women when it comes to investments.
    • Women have a long-term perspective, while men hold their investments for shorter periods.
    • Men are more focused on returns, while women are more focused on planning.
    • Men try to trade, and in general we see a greater presence of over confidence in men.
    • The average return on the portfolios of men is lower than the average return on the portfolios of women.
  • Itaú has learned to enhance the financial planning conversations they have with clients, and women tend to respond very well to this.
  • Risk capacity is more important than risk tolerance, and while risk tolerance is hard to measure, risk capacity is easy and is related to life cycle and liquidity needs.
  • Inspired by this, Itaú created an investment approach where they recommend resources in three reserves: rainy day savings (6 months of salary), retirement reserve (pension funds) and a third reserve for specific goals. The bank recommends products based on diversification and modern portfolio theory.
  • Because retirement tends to be in the distant future, Itaú has created a rule that helps their clients plan. At age 35 they advise clients to have accumulated 1 year of income in reserves, at age 45 they should have 3 years, at age 55 they should have 6 years, and by 65 it should be 9 years. They call this the 1-3-6-9 concept.
  • Panelists agreed that in general, banks need to make the subject of investment much simpler and communicate more clearly. There is too much jargon in the industry.

Panels Button


Managing Director,
Reservoir Q Global LLC;
Former Director,
Global Entrepreneurship
US State Department

Wealth Management,
J.D. Power
Presentation (members only)

Women’s Markets,

Manager of Asset
Itaú Unibanco
Presentation (members only)


“The share of investable
assets controlled by
women in the United
States is looking to
increase by inheritance
and wealth creation to
67% by 2030.”

— Michael Foy

“With any women, bankers
need to be mindful that
they want to be treated with
respect and given more
information and education
before making a decision.”

— Rachael McKenzie

“There is a difference
between women and men.
Women have a more long-
term perspective in their
investments. We can
see that they have 4%
more pension funds in their
portfolios and keep their
investments for longer
periods. We see that their
returns are higher, on
average, than men.”

— Martin Iglesias

“Women listen more and
live longer, and women
will stay with you as a
customer longer, based
on experience. We know
so many reasons why it
makes sense to focus
on this segment.”

— K. Shelly Porges