Female Client Group Head at Barclays Wealth Investment Management addresses women mean business gala dinner
The Head of Barclays Female Client Group, Barbara-Ann King, visited the Island recently as guest speaker at the Barclays ‘Women Mean Business’ Gala Dinner held at the Villa Marina, Douglas, in association with the Institute of Directors, Chamber of Commerce and Association of Corporate Service Providers.
Through its Female Client Practice, Barclays is working hard to ensure that it understands the role that gender plays in how individuals approach their finances and that it addresses these gender differences in order to meet the needs of individual clients and to achieve the highest level of customer service. The Female Client Group was set up by Barbara-Ann in 2010 to support women from all backgrounds and their families not only in managing personal wealth, but also in lifestyle and business needs.
Since launch, the offering has been well received by both clients and strategic partners of the bank. It offers a full programme including seminars and bespoke events focused on education, support and connecting women, positioning the Barclays Female Client Group as an obvious port of call for advice and support on a range of matters as it continues to grow its client base.
During her presentation, Barbara-Ann shared that when speaking to large audiences of corporates and strategic partners, she asks the following questions which regularly receive the same answers:
1. Do you think men and women behave differently? The answer is always undoubtedly yes.
2. Do you have male and female clients? Again the answer is always yes.
3. Do you take into account their gender differences when offering your services and products? The answer is usually no.
‘This highlights that although we all recognise that men and women have different wants and needs when doing business, we often fail to ask women “Does it work for you?”’ said Barbara-Ann.
‘Women are now making 80% of purchasing decisions with trends also showing a greater number of women earning wealth directly with a rise in the number of female board members, business owners and entrepreneurs. According to the World Bank, women will control a gross domestic product (GDP) that is bigger than that of India and China combined by 2014. At the same time, women are expressing great dissatisfaction with the way certain industries engage them. Over the years certain industries, in particular the motor and financial services sectors, have developed their businesses with men in mind. It’s time for us to reflect and make sure we are servicing our clients with their particular needs in mind.’
As part of its work, the Female Client Group has produced a white paper entitled ‘Understanding the Female Economy: The Role of Gender in Financial Decision Making and Succession Planning for the Next Generation’ which was released in April this year.
‘From our broad research we found that the biggest barriers to female satisfaction within the financial services industry were time and knowledge of the subject. Time is often an issue with busy jobs, lifestyles and families to manage and experts have also reported that unless women understand a financial product they will not engage with it. It is important to address both of these issues by ensuring that our customer service experiences is as efficient as possible while ensuring that the gap in engagement is identified in order to offer women the advice and support they need in financial matters.
‘The report shows that the variations in how women and men think, behave and take action in their investment decisions and inheritance planning have far-reaching implications. As the rate of women’s wealth rises across the world, it is becoming increasingly vital that financial institutions and wealth managers address and understand these differences in order to cater for female clients more effectively, based on personality and lifestyle, as well as gender.
‘Rather than splitting male and female clients into two distinct groups, we must learn from each of them. Equipping both men and women with the information they require to enable informed conversations in a more tailored approach will not only help drive the growth of a new female economy, but also enable us to support entire families and future generations in understanding important financial decisions.
‘I was delighted to be able to visit the Island having been invited to speak at the Gala Dinner. At Barclays, we firmly believe in treating our clients as individuals and will continue to work towards tailoring our services to suit them to the best of our ability. It has been great to share our insights into this important and growing area of our business and I would like to thank everyone for their warm welcome.’
Category: Finance & Business