Industry News

Women are a huge business opportunity for the investment industry they will be in charge of more wealth

By Fiona Collie |

Female clients are poised to be more confidant financially and savvy with technology than ever before, according to research conducted by Barbara Stewart, a portfolio manager with Cumberland Private Wealth Management Inc. in Toronto.

"Going forward we will have far fewer naïve, 72-year-old widow clients and we will have far more financially confident women," said Stewart. "Look out."

Stewart gave a "sneak peak" to her upcoming research titled "The Future of Women and Finance" at a CFA Society Toronto conference "Getting to Alpha: The Competitive Advantage of Gender Strategy" on Monday. The research is based on Stewart's interviews of 50 global leaders (male and female), including CEOs, senior executives, and experts from a variety of industries. The full paper will be released on March 8, International Women's Day.

At the conference, Stewart outlined three common themes about female clients. First, women are now more financially confident and financially literate. As well, a women will likely bring along assets from her parents, siblings and "everyone she's ever met."

"So, we better talk to her in her language and the style of communication that she prefers," says Stewart.

Likely, that communication will happen through some form of technology, Stewart's second theme.

"Technology is more of a game changer for woman than men," she says, "when it comes to social media, mobile, the cloud, and the sharing economy."

As such, the financial services should be focusing on reaching out to female clients through these new tools.

Thirdly, women present a huge business opportunity for the financial services industry because now, and in future, they will be in charge of more wealth. "Women are making more money, women are controlling more money, women have access to capital and women are making more decisions," says Stewart.

This research follows a study Stewart released in 2014 on the financial attitudes and behaviour of women around the world.

See: Change the conversation for female clients

Stewart's research can be found on her website.