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Are Your Practice Processes Gender Inclusive?

When it comes to financial planning as an advisor, it’s vital to be accommodating to all clients. Many are very savvy in terms of finances and online privacy, while others may be a little less knowledgeable about the subject. People from different backgrounds and upbringing will naturally approach their online financial security differently-- this difference isn’t something to bemoan, either. It’s simply something to consider when providing excellent estate planning or financial advisory services.Surprisingly, there are some studies out there that support the fact that men and women tend to approach financial advisory and online privacy differently. In this guide, we’ll break down those differences and offer some tips for making your financial advisory firm more friendly and useful for women who want to take control of their finances with a little bit of help from SideDrawer. According to different research studies, there is some evidence to support that many women approach financial advisory, especially over the internet, with more discomfort than others.A report conducted by Yong Jin Park of Howard University found that men tend to develop more high-self-assessed confidence and technical expertise when approaching online privacy. This, of course, isn’t as much of a natural occurrence as it has to do with a number of factors. Such factors include child development and the progress of socialization.“The future research should investigate whether gender (dis)parity in the use of digital devices persists from the early child development or becomes pronounced with the progress of socialization,” reads the study, “Theoretically, this sheds light on to the extent to which women have been socialized differently through established institutions and how this process of socialization contributes to the creation of gender disparity. In other words, what this study has theoretically strived to test is the development of uneven gender identities associated with technology, as manifest in privacy behavior and confidence.(Click here for full source.) In another study conducted by Maor Weinberger, Maayan Zhitomirsky-Geffet, and Dan Douhnik for the University of Boras in Sweden, it was found that women’s general online privacy self-efficacy level and awareness of technological threats don’t entirely match the low technological online privacy literacy level needed to protect against such threats.“Our results have high social significance,” the study reads, “It can be expected that a higher online privacy self-efficacy, anonymity threat awareness and privacy concern, and a higher level of online privacy literacy will reduce personal information disclosure and lead to higher identity and personal data protection of web users. However, we found that women’s relatively high online privacy self-efficacy level, which is probably based on their low level of technological threat awareness, does not match their relatively low technological online privacy literacy level.”

(Click here for full article.)

We can assert two important things: Women tend to be less comfortable sharing sensitive information online. However, at the same time, many women tend to implement fewer technology safeguards such as password protection and VPNs.

So how does this affect financial planning and advisors? Many advisors are a bit behind on the times and need to accommodate these differences for their female clients.

Financial Advisors are Behind on the Times 

Since the pandemic began, it became clear that many financial advisors were a bit behind on the times when it came to data-protection technology. Namely, many advisors continued to engage with their clients via email-- a practice that is not only not secure, but could be significantly dangerous if sensitive financial information is disclosed via email.

With hackers and cybercriminals on the rise and consistently finding new ways to phish and access email accounts, it’s clear that financial advisors need to find safer solutions. This is especially the case for advisors with women clients.

There are three things that a financial advisor should change in their engagement strategy to keep their firm safer for women:

  1. Advisors should be prepared to adequately engage with female clients through a more secure platform such as SideDrawer, rather than email.
  2. Advisors should be prepared to offer a good customer experience that conveys data security and uses it as a selling point.
  3. Advisors should immediately cease using email clients for transferring important document, as this is not secure.

How SideDrawer is Helping Women Take Control of their Finances

The SideDraw platform is designed to help financial dvisors and other professionals collaborate securely with their clients. Our platform offers a significantly better user experience than is currently offered with other data management platforms and email clients.

As the world continues to change in terms of equality and more women are taking on sole professional roles with promising financial growth, women are in turn taking more of an interest in their personal or financial finances. Our platform can help financial advisors provide confidence around data security and assist in engaging with their prospective female clients.

SideDrawer is far more engaging and user-friendly than the alternatives that are being used by advisors today, such as file sharing sites, legacy client portals, etc. The secure infrastructure of SideDrawer keeps sensitive client documents and additional sensitive data safe from potential hackers. Just as well, our platform is designed to be collaborative. A financial advisor, their client, and her immediate family can easily access and be invited to their SideDrawer account in case of emergency. You simply can’t get that with added security if you’re using a basic email account.

Interested in creating a more inviting financial firm for your prospective female clients? Get in touch with the team at SideDrawer today to book a demo. We believe that taking a hands-on approach to testing new software is the best way to discover its unique use cases.