Different, but treated the same

Robert Frank’s report on what female millionaires want from financial advisors was interesting. It reports on a survey of 550 women millionaires, and sounds like it was particularly geared towards asking questions we’d stereotypically expect women to answer different than men. But…

First, they didn’t ask male millionaires the same questions – we don’t actually know if anything they find is different for women and men. For instance, I think that if you asked male investors if they wanted their advisors to understand their “life pictures” (perhaps with less fluffiness), they’d be happy to. Wealth is a means to an end, and understanding if trust and succession planning is important to you client only comes about when you’ve spoken with them about their objectives.

Second, I don’t get a feeling for what might not matter to women, but might matter lots to men. For instance, beating the market regularly?

But really, the interesting part was how the commenters reacted. Examining gender differences obviously hits a nerve, as many commenters disliked the premise that men and women might be treated differently by the same advisor. While stereotyping is a good way to lose clients, acting as if men and women are exactly the same is too. Individual differences are important, and your gender makes up a big part of that.

Which isn’t to say that women will accept worse advice or performance, just that what they define as good advice or performance might be different.

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