Four in five women (82%) from wealthy families expect to inherit substantial wealth over the next 20 years.

However, only two in five (41%) are currently not involved in family financial decision making.

Women in charge of wealth

This is according to research from Barclays Private Bank entitled Smarter Succession: The Challenges and Opportunities of Intergenerational Wealth Transfer.

The study also found that four in five (83%) main decision makers around family wealth are men. Furthermore, these main decision makers, whether men or women, are more likely to turn to their sons (29%) rather than their daughters on matters of wealth, finance and investment.

Nine in ten (88%) wealthy women are now involved in family businesses to some extent with 46% on a day-to-day basis. On the other hand, this is compared to 96% and 60% of men respectively.

Changing tides

There is, however, a shift as women are holding similar levels of direct ownership in the family business to men (54% to 57%). In addition, more HNW woman are achieving postgraduate qualifications (43%) compared to their parents.

Barclays Private Bank garnered these finding from a survey of over 400 global HNW family members with at least £5m in assets. It also hosted in-depth interviews with 20 HNW families and their bankers.

Lisa Francis, head of UK Private Bank & Crown Dependencies said: “As traditional family roles change and more women hold prominent positions in international business, their growing global influence is going to be a major economic force over the next decade, redefining areas that have historically been focused on, and dominated by, men.

“We focus on engaging both women and men of the next generation in succession planning and wider wealth management, as part of setting up the long-term security of their family legacy. For us, it’s a priority to make sure that they have the knowledge, confidence and support to feel comfortable leading the next generation of family wealth and shaping it towards their individual ambitions.”

Dr Ylva Baeckstrom, behavioural finance and gender expert, added: “The financial world has historically been male gendered. It was created by men, for men, to suit their purposes, in both subtle and fundamental ways. These established systems mean that women have been excluded from finance until relatively recently and are still treated differently. Many women haven’t gained the financial confidence and independence that is going to be crucial as many more come into wealth.

“The industry needs to overcome existing biases, work to deliver services and advice that are the equal of those presented to their male relatives and provide women with the base to support their role as global business leaders of the future.”