Ms. Huber-Schütz, what's the idea behind this program?
Women hold roughly 30 percent of the world's wealth. The trend shows that increasing numbers of women control greater amounts of capital. The annual growth rate globally runs to about seven percent – substantially higher than for men. But studies clearly show that women often are not advised in line with their needs by asset managers and financial service providers, and get too little support on how best to structure their assets. This is where our program comes in. We've aligned our advisory process more closely with the investment needs of our female clients. We want to tell women investors what they need to know, so they can make the most of their own wealth. We strengthen their financial self-confidence, so to speak.
What are the main differences in the investment behaviors of men and women?
Women look at their wealth differently than men. For example, it's much more important to them to invest in assets that effect positive social change and address the common good. Additionally, they expect the advisory experience to match their personal attitudes and goals. They value a dialog in which their personal values are given greater weight – one in which it’s not only simple investment performance that counts. Going forward, we want to take this understanding into consideration when developing our product offering and consulting with our female clients.
In your view, what are the greatest challenges facing this program?
To begin with, we need to better understand and address the specific requirements of women in the respective stages of their lives. Add to this the fact that women are often decision makers in the background when the issue involves finances. It is also interesting that a high proportion of widowed women change their asset managers within one year, as global studies have shown. Often, this is because they never had direct insight into their husband's finances or because they were not involved in important advisory consultations. We understand this and it is an area where we'll start and get to work.
How do you define the typical stages in the life of women?
First, it should be said that everyone is unique and there's no SINGLE preordained path in life. Of course, there are certain basic events that many women share. They include partnership and marriage, the birth of a child and their entry and exit from working life. Many women are also confronted with separating from their partner or the loss of a loved one. Such events are not only emotionally taxing but also can have a decisive impact on their financial situation, while raising new questions. We want to give women the best possible advice at each of these stages in life and offer them specific solutions appropriate to each situation.
What approach do you take in the consultation?
On the one hand, when choosing the right strategy, the client's personal relationships and priorities are key; but on the other, realistically assessing her future is also crucial. What stage in life has the client reached? Does she have a strong need for security? Is she planning greater expenses? What does she believe is her life expectancy? What share of her assets does she intend to pass on or give away? Only after all the relevant questions have been answered do we begin our analysis and decision making.
What are the first reactions of clients?
Absolutely positive! We've conducted a few very dynamic workshops with women clients in recent months, where we specifically addressed the topics of retirement and wealth planning. These events were very well received and will continue to be offered in the future. I believe our female clients have understood and felt that this program is a genuine priority of ours and not some flash in the pan.
What advice do you give interested women?
Take advantage of the non-binding dialog. Feel free to talk to us at any time to share your ideas with us: together we can look over the stages in your life, wishes, values and financial priorities. The program can help women clarify their personal situation. Our goal is to enable them to construct a self-determined, well-informed and personal financial future for themselves.
Sandra Huber-Schütz is Head of Personnel Financial Affairs and Program Lead of Unique in Switzerland. She studied business administration and has worked for more than 20 years at UBS.
The global program was introduced in 2017 to UBS Wealth Management. The program is especially designed for female clients and their needs. Our goal is to contribute to changing the asset management industry so that women get better advice and can make the best use of their assets.