Women are Underrepresented in Financial Services

If women account for 85% of all consumer purchase, including 89% of all bank accounts, 80% of healthcare and 91% of new homes, they are an important consumer demographic for financial services.  Yet, as Mary Zimmer, Head of International Wealth RBC U.S. Wealth Management, points out in her article in the March 2012 issue of Investment AdvisorInvestment Advisor, women made up less than one-third of personal financial advisors in 2010. Additionally,  women comprise less than a25% of all senior officers in the financial services and insurance industries, according to the 2010 Catalyst Census of Women Executive Officers. And a study  by American Express showed that just 20% of finance and insurance firms are owned by women.

One disconnect is that the number of small businesses owned by women is exploding. In December 2009, a report from The Guardian Life Small Business Research Institute estimated that women small business owners will be responsible for creating over half of the 9.72 million new small business jobs and about one-third of the 15.3 million total new jobs the Bureau of Labor Statistics believes will be generated by the year 2018.

The industry needs to develop new strategies to attract and support women professionals. Some strategies include:

  • Increasing the number of experienced women financial advisors through mentoring, succession planning and leadership opportunities;
  • Helping internal associates grow into higher-profile roles;
  • Retaining women corporate employees;
  • Recruiting the next generation of industry leaders;
  • Growing female client bases by focusing on women investors.

At this challenging time in the financial services industry, an underserved market is waiting to be served.

Snap principle of underserved markets:

Represent your markets.