The financial services industry is losing out on an estimated $700 billion in annual revenue by failing to cater to female customers, according to a report from management consulting firm Oliver Wyman.
The Women in Financial Services 2020 report, released Tuesday, found the industry’s products are not consistently designed for women’s financial lives, while some products that appear to be gender-neutral default toward men.
"Women are arguably the single largest under-served group of customers in financial services," Jessica Clempner, principal and lead author of the report, said in a statement."Firms are leaving money on the table by not listening to and understanding their women customers."
The $700 billion figure is greater than the annual revenue of the largest financial institutions globally, Oliver Wyman claims.
To capture this revenue, the report's authors say firms should not treat women as a single customer segment.
"[F]irms must understand the needs of their women customers, and create products and services tailored to those needs — resulting in better products overall for all customers," the report states.
The lack of women in leadership roles in the finance industry likely contributes to the sector’s failure to capitalize on the female consumer.
Only 6% of CEOs in the financial services industry are women, and banks and insurance firms "have failed to reach 20 percent executive committee representation," the report said.
Despite "starting with a blank slate," the report says fintechs are also struggling with gender balance at the board level.
The report also addresses the lack of women in technology, and the hurdles associated with the increasing digitization of the industry.
"In the future, many of the roles with the most impact on the industry and on customers will be digital. If we do not recruit, train, and re-skill women accordingly, there will be a gap in the most influential positions," the report states. "With automation, many of the front-line roles traditionally held by women in branches and call centers are likely to be endangered."
Oliver Wyman said the report’s analysis included more than 460 firms, about 9,000 senior leaders and 37 countries and jurisdictions. The authors spoke to over 100 senior executives across the industry.
Tech giant Apple and investment bank Goldman Sachs have recently come under fire for alleged gender discrimination in the financial services sector.
Recent claims that the companies’ new Apple Card, a joint venture, discriminates against women has spurred an investigation by New York State Department of Financial Services.
Customers took to Twitter to complain that the credit card offers higher credit limits to men compared to their female spouses.