How Women Are Changing the World of Investing
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Women are a growing financial force, and financial institutions like Regions have taken note.

Women held an estimated 30 percent of global private wealth in 2015, according to a 2016 report by the Boston Consulting Group, and it is expected to grow by 7 percent each year. Whether women are outliving their spouses, living single, financially independent, inheriting wealth, or acting as their family’s breadwinner, women are soon to be a greater financial force.

Financial institutions and their advisors are paying attention. Several are adding programs, symposiums, and events aimed at women.

How Banks Are Responding

Regions is one such institution. Recruiting a diverse workforce also helps Regions serve the growing market of financially savvy women. “We want advisors who can listen to our customers, ask good questions, gather important information, analyze that information, and provide guidance based on that customer’s unique goals and objectives,” says Stephanie Stanfield, Senior Vice President and Area Wealth Executive for Regions Private Wealth Management in Tampa, Florida. “And we find that female customers value a deep, trusting relationship.”

Beyond recruiting efforts, Stanfield says there is an increased focus on promoting awareness of some of the nuances and interaction techniques that women prefer.

“We’re teaching our wealth partners how to ask better questions, how to build trust, and to not assume that when a husband and wife sit down with an advisor that the man is the primary decision-maker,” she says.

The Needs of Women Investors

Even though women are staking a larger claim in the financial marketplace, many still lack financial confidence. According to the 2015 Regions Women and Wealth Study, conducted in partnership with Vanderbilt University, females under the age of 50 rated their confidence level significantly lower than other respondents (males and females over 50) in areas such as investing, saving for retirement, life insurance protection, budgeting, and managing debt.

“They could very well be making the same financial decisions as men, but they feel less sure of themselves and less optimistic,” Stanfield says. Rather than trying to pitch women on a product, which can seem intimidating to even the most confident investor, Regions Wealth Advisors use a long-term planning approach. “Women don’t like to be told what to do with their money,” Stanfield says. “It’s intimidating. But if we use planning as an approach, we’re able to illustrate their buying power for the future.”

This contingency planning approach means using “what-if” scenarios that clearly demonstrate how investing, saving, and planning today can have life-altering effects on a woman and her legacy.

“You can’t just pitch a woman a product and tell her to choose yes or no. She wants to know that we’re collaborating with her on these decisions,” Stanfield says. “Empower her with information so that she can make informed decisions.”

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This information is general in nature and is provided for educational purposes only. Regions makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness, timeliness, suitability, or validity of any information presented. Information provided and statements made by employees of Regions should not be relied on or interpreted as accounting, financial planning, investment, legal, or tax advice. Regions encourages you to consult a professional for advice applicable to your specific situation.

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