How Women Can Build Wealth: Rethinking the Role of… | Stephens

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How Women Can Build Wealth: Rethinking the Role of Networks and Reevaluating Risk

May 7, 2024

Stephens research study examines how limited professional networks and risk aversion inhibit women executives in building wealth and maximizing career success. The findings are supplemented by the insights and experiences of participants in Stephens INVESTED, the firm’s women’s initiative, as well as by interviews with female executives who fit the study’s criteria.

For years, women have not leveraged their personal and professional networks as effectively as their male counterparts. Even with the considerable gains women have made, this lack of a legacy of connectivity – particularly with financial experts – has affected who they know, trust and reach out to for advisory support. The lack of connectivity has also affected traditional notions of risk tolerance. Without a robust advisory network, women often fail to take advantage of riskier opportunities that present themselves over the course of a career.


Helping Women Build Wealth

According to our study of 1,002 senior executives, women business leaders are not building
investment-oriented professional networks that could help maximize their potential to generate income and create wealth.

Women’s professional networks, even among the most senior and high-earning executives,
tend to be limited to attorneys and accountants, excluding the critical expertise of investment advisors. Our research shows that in contrast to their male counterparts, women are making both professional and investment decisions without the benefit of investment expertise.

Senior-level men view investment advisors as an integral part of their networks – not only to support decision-making but also to serve as avenues for business and revenue generation. As one’s network expands, so does one’s value to clients, employers and colleagues.

Additionally, the study shows that when it comes to making financial decisions, men are more likely to embrace risk, while women focus more on security. Both approaches are valid. However, risk aversion can hinder women from capitalizing on opportunities such as creating businesses, broadening their investment portfolios and maximizing earnings.

As we further explored the study’s findings, a select group of women colleagues and clients shared that the well-being of their families is top of mind, leading them to prioritize stability regarding their income and finances. Thus, it’s not surprising that many women place a premium on security over risk.

As women executives occupy more senior roles and command higher pay, professional
networking with a broader group of senior executives can help mitigate risk aversion. Access to professionals with financial expertise and business acumen makes risk more palatable, and opportunity can be converted to gain. Through the collective efforts of employers, the financial services industry, academia and other avenues of support, we can offer women the necessary resources to maximize their wealth.

At Stephens, providing those resources is one of our objectives. Our investment advisors
understand the importance of relationships and trust in helping clients achieve their financial and business goals. Through INVESTED, we are helping women identify gaps in their networks and make connections that will support wealth creation and business success.

This will be an ongoing journey for our firm, just as it will be for countless businesses. We hope you find the information and insights in this report useful.

  1. This communication has been prepared solely for informational purposes as of its stated date. It is not a solicitation, recommendation or offer to buy or sell any security and does not provide information on which an investment decision to purchase or sell any securities could be based. It does not purport to be a complete description of the securities, markets or developments referred to in this communication. Additional information is available upon request. “Stephens” (the company brand name) is a leading family-owned investment firm that includes Stephens Inc. (member NYSE/SIPC), Stephens Investment Management Group, LLC, Stephens Insurance, LLC, Stephens Capital Partners LLC and Stephens Europe Limited (Registered office: 12 Arthur Street, London, EC4R 9AB, Registered number 8817024), which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. © 2024 Stephens.