In Spring 2016 the Maguire Center for Ethics collaborated with The American College State Farm Center for Women in Financial Services to conduct research to better understand the experience of women working in the financial services. This preliminary study was designed to address the following overarching question: How does gender influence individual experiences and perceptions of the equality of opportunity between men and women in the financial services industry? The study included a survey completed by 1,135 industry professionals at six different companies, along with in-depth interviews with 71 survey respondents who volunteered to participate. The results from this preliminary study suggest that women in the financial services industry have a fundamentally different experience than men, and that this experience informs a substantially less optimistic view of the opportunity structures for women in the industry.

The purpose of this study was to examine the extent to which recent widow(er)s chose to stay with their financial advisor after their spouse’s death, chose to work with a new advisor, or chose to not work with an advisor at all. We also wanted to determine the reasons behind their decision to keep, drop, or switch advisors. More specifically, we aimed to examine widow(er)s’ financial attitudes and risk tolerance, their use of financial advisors in the past, and the relationship with their advisor at the time of their spouse’s death.