When people imagine the finance industry and wealth management, the image of a competitive, driven, and well-groomed businessman comes to mind. This stereotypical portrayal of the finance world is supported by statistics, as females make up only 15% of the industry (Baghai et al., 2020). Serving as a pivot for the field of finance, according to Forbes, “female talent remains one of the most underutilized business resources” (Councils, 2018). The customers making financial decisions are also more likely to be men than women, with men being the key financial decision-makers in 75% of households worldwide (Baghai et al., 2020). However, by 2030, American women alone are expected to control a significant amount of the $30 trillion USD in financial assets that baby boomers’ possess. This is such a large transfer of assets, that it rivals the annual GDP of the U.S (Baghai et al., 2020).


There are several reasons why the value of assets controlled by women is expected to skyrocket within the next decade:

Shift in Demographics
The majority of wealth around the world is held by joint baby boomer households, where the woman is present but not actively involved in financial decision-making. Women outlive men by an average of 5 years, which means that men pass, and will most likely cede, control of their assets to their female partner. This will account for a transfer in assets of nearly $11 trillion USD over the next 10 years (Baghai et al., 2020).

Focus on financial literacy
Younger women are becoming more financially savvy, with an increase in 30% of women making financial and investment decisions compared to 5 years ago (Baghai et al., 2020). More women than ever are also the family breadwinners, increasing their share of investable assets, and climbing the corporate ladder.

COVID-19 uncertainty
The COVID-19 crisis is also expected to accelerate the amount of money transferred. During previous economic recessions, there were remarkable increases in the number of assets transferred, as well as an uptick in the number of investors seeking a financial advisor for wealth management purposes (Baghai et al., 2020).


As wealth is transferred to female customers, wealth management companies are presented with a unique opportunity to gain new customers. Many firms have already taken steps to appeal more to women by offering new products, hiring more female advisors, and showcasing women using their products in advertisements. While these measures are a step in the right direction, firms will need to commit to a more systematic approach to truly benefit their female customer base. It is vital that financial institutions re-evaluate and transform their business and client-service model in ways that will help acquire, retain, and serve women as long-term investors (Baghai et al., 2020). By appealing to women as customers, firms are set to benefit greatly as well. A study by McKinsey & Company estimates that simply by retaining baby boomer women as clients, firms could see a 30% increase in potential revenues. Millennial women could also contribute to a firm quadrupling their revenue rate, if they are acquired and attained as customers. A previously male-dominated industry that has reaped the benefit of catering to women’s needs is the real estate sector. Realtors realized that there were more single female buyers than male buyers, and consequently shifted their focus from married couples to creating a substantial value proposition for single women looking to buy a home. Real estate companies that adopted this approach outperformed their competitors who did not. It is imperative for firms to understand women’s differing needs to refresh their offerings, and to forgo the risk of waiting too long and falling behind.


While men and women are considered equals, there is no question that men and women approach decision-making differently, holding true for wealth management as well.

While men and women are considered equals, there is no question that men and women approach decision-making differently, holding true for wealth management as well.

Greater demand for advice
Women are more likely to have a financial advisor compared to men. They are also more willing to pay a premium for in-person advice, preferring a meeting in-person to one hosted on a digital platform.

Less risk tolerance
In terms of investment strategies, women tend to prefer passive investment strategies that mitigate risk, and are nearly 10% less likely than men to take a large investment risk for a potentially high reward (Baghai et al., 2020). Capital protection is one of the main concerns for women.

Focus on real-life goals
The primary goal for many female investors is centred around real-life goals such as retirement and health care costs. Research has shown that men set goals that are focused on attaining a certain amount of wealth or outperforming the markets (Baghai et al., 2020).

Desire for personal fit with wealth advisor
Many women place a high value on establishing a personal connection with their financial advisor. These relationships are built on trust and a good personality fit between the client and advisor. 30% of women say that they would only work with an investment professional they trust, which is 10% higher than the majority of men (Baghai et al., 2020).


Once a firm truly understands the differing needs of female investors, and the benefits to both parties derived from catering to them, concrete steps can be taken to incorporate a company-wide strategy. McKinsey & Company recommends that these changes should be phased in using a multi-year approach with three sequential steps:

1. Adapt to meet the needs of current female clients by offering a unique value proposition.
2. Evolve client and business models with a focus on women’s needs and preferences.
3. Leap to transform the value proposition, and rethink how the company creates value for female clients, while expanding into underdeveloped spaces.

Implementing and getting this strategy right will be critical for firms over the next few years. It is crucial that the finance industry recognizes the untapped potential female employees and clients offer, and commit to a systematic approach that caters to women’s differing needs.


Baghai, P., Howard, O., Prakash, L., & Zucker, J. (2020, July 29). Women as the next wave of growth in US wealth management. Retrieved August 06, 2020, from

Councils, F. (2018, June 05). 5 Things You Need To Know About Women In Finance. Retrieved August 06, 2020, from