Study Shows Women More Likely to Make Referrals Than Men

According to a market study by author Delia Passim, women will make more client referrals to their financial advisers than men will. On average, women will make 26 such referrals in their lifetime, which is substantially more than the 11 that men average. These results were presented at the annual conference of the Investment Management Consultants Association.

Kathleen Burns Kingsbury of KBK Wealth Connection was one of the speakers who addressed the differences between men and women in the financial world in a workshop session entitled “Sex, Lies, and Stereotypes” at the conference. She stated that men and women are wired differently when it comes to communicating, researching and approaching a financial issue or decision.

Kingsbury believes that in order for women to makes referrals to other friends, the investment adviser must develop a personal relationship and a connection with them. She said, “If you do the right things, and in a way that fosters trust in female clients, they will connect you with their friends. They are huge referrers.”

Kingsbury said that the key to developing these strong relationships with female clients is to create a relationship of “trust.” Kingsbury elaborated on five elements to build trust which include:

  • Transparency – be up front with the client about all issues;
  • Reliability – always follow through with what you promised to do for the client;
  • Understandability – speak to the client in terms that she will understand and do not always use investment jargon;
  • Sensitivity – always keep in mind the client’s needs and emotions; and
  • Thoughtfulness – the client believes that details are important so it may be nice to follow up conversations and send notes on matters that are important to the client.

Kingsbury assured male advisers that they can successfully become advisers to women. She stated “There may be some natural advantages for women advising other women, but if you understand and learn what women need, you can have success. In my experience, women often want male financial advisers.”

An adviser for the financial firm Wealth By Design For Women, Janet Acheatel, another speaker at the workshop, asserted that women have special financial needs that men do not. She stated, “Women usually live longer than their spouse. It’s challenging because they now have to do it on their own.” As a result, even though women may not have earned the money, they usually end up with it in the end. Acheatel has compiled a list of tips to help men make women feel more comfortable and welcome. She suggests not to have a messy desk at meetings, put out family pictures if you have any, clean the bathroom, have tissues and lotion available, greet the female clients by name, and do not patronize them.

Parker MacIntyre provides legal and compliance services to investment advisers, broker-dealers, registered representatives, hedge funds and issuers of securities, among others. Our regulatory practice group assists financial service providers with the complex issues that arise in the course of their businesses, including compliance with federal and state laws and rules.