Women and investing: room for improvement

Posted by on June 1, 2011 @ 2:12 pm in Investing

I hate buying cars. Even though I’ve had the good fortune to not have it be a frequent experience, when the time comes for another car, I cringe at the prospect.

The worst was when a car dealer wouldn’t give me back my license after a test drive because he was so anxious to make a sale. It’s so bad that I’ve delegated the process to my husband for the last two purchases. Here’s our deal: he gets the thrill of the hunt and I lose the right to lodge any complaints. So far, so good.

With this as background, imagine my reaction when a recent report* indicated that investment companies beat out car manufacturers among companies that need to focus more on understanding and meeting women’s needs. Ouch! As an employee (or, rather, “crew member”) of an investment company, I found this to be quite a surprise. In fact, the survey reported that financial services companies (investment, banking, life insurance, and car insurance) accounted for four of the top 10 categories of dissatisfaction for women.

“Room for improvement” not only focused on products, but on messaging as well. Many comments in the survey suggested investment firms need to focus more on building relationships and developing better listening skills—and on dropping the condescension women so often encounter. For all the progress women have made in so many aspects of our lives, I’m personally disappointed to see these results.

On a brighter note, we got some great insight on women and investing when two women from DailyWorth,com, a website devoted to women’s financial issues, came to Vanguard earlier this year. Following their visit, they asked their readers to tell us what we could be doing better, both as a company and as an industry. As you can see, they had lots of great suggestions and a helpful “to do” list for this financial firm!

* “Creating Breakthrough Growth Opportunities with Women Customers,” The Boston Consulting Group. January 2011.

Note: The link to DailyWorth.com will open a new browser window. Except where noted, Vanguard accepts no responsibility for content on third-party sites.

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