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."
Ms. Dabu's sentiments were echoed in the BMO Women & Wealth Study:
-- Three-in-five Canadians (59 per cent) have a financial plan, yet more men than women have one (64 vs. 55 per cent).-- Three-quarters of Canadians (74 per cent) have confidence that they will be able to save for their ideal retirement lifestyle, yet men are more optimistic than women (79 vs. 70 per cent).
Alex Dousmanis-Curtis, Senior Vice President and Head, BMO Harris Private Banking: Affluent Women Still Shut Out
"With more wealth comes more complexity, such as balancing the interest of the family when making decisions regarding philanthropy and transferring wealth to the next generation," said Ms. Dousmanis-Curtis. "It's incumbent upon financial services providers to recognize the challenges of affluent women and involve them in the conversation early on."
The BMO Women & Wealth Study found that views towards women and money have changed over the years:
-- Two-thirds (64 per cent) of Canadians agree that women have been historically left out of household financial and money management decisions (including 69 per cent of woman and 59 per cent of men).-- By contrast, only 29 per cent agree that women are still left out of household financial and money management decisions (including 30 per cent of women and 27 per cent of men).
Viki Lazaris, President and CEO, BMO InvestorLine: Sexes Tackle Investing Differently
"Women typically have different approaches to investing than men," said Ms. Lazaris. "Female investors tend to be more conservative and risk averse. They often seek out advice, prefer a more collaborative relationship, and are more open to assistance."
She added that, over time and with education, women can become more engaged and confident online investors.
According to the BMO Women & Wealth Study, among Canadians with investments:
-- Only sixteen per cent of Canadian women consider themselves aggressive investors, compared to 30 per cent of men.-- Just 13 per cent of women think they are impulsive investors, versus 21 per cent of men.
The survey was conducted online by Pollara with a sample of n=1000 Canadians from February 25 to February 26, 2013. The margin of error on the overall sample is +/- 3.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20.
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About BMO Financial Group
Established in 1817 as Bank of Montreal, BMO Financial Group is a highly diversified North American financial services organization. With total assets of $542 billion as at January 31, 2013, and more than 46,000 employees, BMO Financial Group provides a broad range of retail banking, wealth management and investment banking products and solutions.
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Amanda Robinson, Toronto
Valerie Doucet, Montreal
Laurie Grant, Vancouver