5 key points to help retain female clients

Posted 4 March 2024 by Gillian Hepburn

By 2025, 60% of wealth in the UK could be in female hands, in large part due to the level of family wealth passing to female baby boomers on widowhood.[1] 

In 2020-2021, HMRC statistics indicated that £15.7billion of assets was transferred to surviving spouses and 72.6% of the widowed population were females. The future does appear ‘female’. 

The challenge however is that many baby boomer widows are leaving their current ‘family’ adviser. According to research carried out in 2022 by Schroders, only 5% of advisers have a strategy for retaining and attracting female clients. This is potentially a threat to those looking for an exit strategy and seeking to maximise a business valuation. Retention of boomer assets could be vital.

New research commissioned by Schroders, in conjunction with Ad Lucem in 2023, has some interesting findings for advisers who may be considering implementing a strategy for retaining and attracting female clients.

The research was undertaken with 200 women aged 50 plus with investable assets of over £50k.

1. Are widows leaving the family adviser?

Simply – yes. The research indicated that only 34% of the women interviewed would use the current adviser to continue to advise them if their partner died or they divorced.

This concurs with previous research supporting the view that many advisers may potentially have a challenge particularly on the death of the male partner – which typically happens first.

2. What would it take for women to stay with the current adviser?

When asked this question, the feedback had a common theme around communication and understanding. The top priority was ‘understand me more and my life priorities’, followed by ‘more proactive communication’, ‘listen more’ and then ‘greater flexibility in the way the adviser communicates’.

Only 35% surveyed were involved in decisions around wealth transfer and only 46% thought that they would be ok following the death of a partner. Thinking and knowing are two different things. There are opportunities here for more proactive communication with female clients to start conversations on these topics.

3. What qualities in an adviser did women most value?

The women surveyed valued trust, experience and value for money. These responses could actually be non gender-specific and unfortunately 75% expressed a level of dissatisfaction with ‘value for money’. As the survey was conducted in September, some advisers have some work to do in relation to Consumer Duty outcomes.

72% also expressed dissatisfaction when asked about their adviser’s ability to consider both their financial and non-financial requirements. When asked about their aspirations, if money was no object, travel was number one by a significant margin. This was followed by spending more time with family – perhaps another message to advisers about the type of conversations which women want. However, 40% had never discussed their aspirations with their adviser ‘because it never occurred to them’ – or perhaps had never been asked?

4. Will employing a female adviser help?

No, 76% of the women interviewed said it made no difference if the adviser was a female and only 12% expressed a preference for a female. When discussing this in the past with advisers, the ‘go to’ solution to retain female clients is often to consider gender diversity in their business. However, only 12% of women expressed a preference for a female adviser. And as only 16% of advisers are female then this would be challenge.

5. Do women have different financial needs?

53% of women said no, but of those who agreed there was a difference, only 35% agreed that their adviser appreciated these differences.

With a gender pay gap, challenges over levels of retirement income and the fact that significantly more women end up in social care, arguably there are different financial needs.

On a more encouraging note, the majority of women surveyed (51%) felt more positive about their finances than a year ago. However, the overwhelming message from the survey was that a journey to a good relationship with female clients, and retaining them, starts with engagement and communication. And that, like men, women want value for money.

To find out how Schroders can support you, visit our website, contact your usual Schroders’ representative or call our Business Development Desk on 0207 658 3894.

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Marketing material for professional clients only, not for onward distribution. The material is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, accounting, legal or tax advice, or investment recommendations. Reliance should not be placed on any views or information in the material when taking individual investment and/or strategic decisions. Past performance is not a guide to future performance and may not be repeated. The value of investments and the income from them may go down as well as up and investors may not get back the amounts originally invested. The views and opinions contained herein are those of the author and may not necessarily represent views expressed or reflected in other Schroders communications, strategies or funds. Information herein is believed to be reliable but Schroders does not warrant its completeness or accuracy. Insofar as liability under relevant laws cannot be excluded, no Schroders entity accepts any liability for any error or omission in this material or for any resulting loss or damage (whether direct, indirect, consequential or otherwise). Schroders will be a data controller in respect of your personal data. For information on how Schroders might process your personal data, please view our Privacy Policy available at www.schroders.com/en/privacy-policy/ or on request should you not have access to this webpage. For your security, communications may be recorded or monitored. Issued in January 2024 by Schroder Investment Management Limited, 1 London Wall Place, London EC2Y 5AU. Registration No. 1893220 England. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. UK007013.

[1] Centre for Economics and Business Research

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Gillian Hepburn

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Gillian Hepburn