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Financial services ‘aggressively masculine’ finds report

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UK financial institutions are failing to connect with female customers at every stage, from advertising to product offerings and thereby missing out on a significant potential market.

Only 38% of women claim to feel ‘in control of their financial future’ compared to 51% of men, according to a report from Kantar research. Yet attracting and building lasting relationships with female clients should be a worthwhile investment for companies, with satisfied female clients twice as likely as men to recommend their bank.

Female clients also hold more savings, mortgage and general insurance products and, where they hold debt, they are more likely to pay it back. They take a more conservative approach to home ownership, such as deposit requirements, monthly affordability and extra costs. The Kantar research said that if financial services companies could engage better with women, the market could be worth up to £133bn.

However, financial services companies have some way to go. Their advertising fails to communicate core tenets of ‘trustworthiness’, ‘understanding’, ‘dependability’, and ‘accessibility’ to women.

Bart Michels, country leader for Kantar in the United Kingdom, said: “Financial institutions are focusing their efforts on the confident, rather than the competent. In failing to develop client experiences rooted in men and women’s fundamentally different perspectives on finance, financial services institutions are missing a very significant business opportunity.”

Amy Cashman, managing director, Financial Services & Technology practice, and the study’s lead author, added: “Women’s lower engagement is also a major factor behind their concerns and shortfalls in retirement income. Average men’s retirement savings, at £73.6k, are three times greater than women’s, which average just £24.9k. This makes improved engagement of women in the financial sector a social imperative as well as commercial opportunity.”

Kantar spoke to 30,000 women finding that the world of financial services is “aggressively masculine” and off-putting for many women. It also found that some women feel “diminished” when talking to a financial adviser. While many women are in charge of day-to-day household finances, investments and pensions are still seen as man’s domain.

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