TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwire) -- 03/09/13 -- Editors Note: A photo for this release will be available on the Canadian Press picture wire via Marketwire.
BMO Financial Group hosted a panel in Toronto on Wednesday featuring five BMO executives who discussed a variety of issues related to women and wealth. They also unveiled findings from a new BMO study on the topic.
Betsey Chung, Vice President and Head of Marketing and Client Strategy, BMO Private Client Group: Women Have Become Increasingly Independent and Affluent
Betsey Chung opened the panel by noting that women have different needs than men with their wealth and that financial institutions need to connect with them using compelling interactions and experiences rather than traditional marketing tactics.
"Gone are the days when banks marketed almost exclusively to men who controlled the most important financial decisions," said Ms. Chung. "Today's modern women have become more independent and affluent, controlling approximately one-third of all wealth in North America. This number is increasing annually, so it's more important than ever for the financial services industry to communicate to women differently."
Richard Mills, Co-Head, Executive Vice-President and Managing Director, BMO Nesbitt Burns: Language and Attitude in the Industry Must Change
"We feel that there is a tremendous opportunity in our industry to do a better job addressing the unique needs of women investors. We need to recognize the fact that women tend to make investment decisions differently than men do. They also often act as CFO of their households and have a key role when it comes to managing the finances," said Mr. Mills.
"We believe that having a broad and diverse talent pool of investment advisors increases our chances of attracting a diverse client base that reflects current Canadian society," he added. "Historically, we have developed relationships and spoken solely to the primary breadwinner, but we need to engage couples as a whole and discuss the family's wealth more than just an individual's wealth."
Mr. Mills highlighted some key findings from various BMO studies to illustrate his message:
-- Thirty per cent of women stated that they felt that our industry is currently doing a good job servicing their unique needs as investors.-- Almost one-third (31 per cent) of women prefer to seek financial advice from a female advisor compared to 17 per cent of men.-- Men and women feel similarly (45 per cent each) that investment advisors treat male and female clients differently.
Caroline Dabu, Vice President and Head, BMO Wealth Planning Group: Unique Challenges Make Financial Planning Critical
"Women have unique challenges not always faced by men," said Ms. Dabu. "On average women live longer than men, and they have lower earnings over their lifetime. This means that women need to ensure they have the established plans in place for more savings that take into account a longer time spent in retirement. Health care costs are also a key consideration for women as they think about retirement plans."
She added that women may be better prepared emotionally for retirement compared to men, but they are often less prepared financially. "Having a financial plan enables women to map out their life goals better and devise strategies on how to save and plan financially to achieve them."