Sun Bank research highlights the difference between the sexes

According to mortgage brokers, men are looking for the best deal while women are looking for security when buying a mortgage, a new survey by Sun Bank has revealed.

Few people would deny that there is a male culture and a female culture. It is perhaps not surprising, therefore, that brokers perceive men and women to have different approaches to purchasing mortgages and other financial products.

Sun Bank&#39s recent survey of brokers&#39 experiences of dealing with men and women found that:

• Men have a greater initial understanding of mortgages and interest rates, absorbed information and options more easily and made decisions quickly. They appear less concerned with detail and put more emphasis on completing the deal.

• The downsides of dealing with men are that they often believe they know more than they do, tend to be suspicious of advice offered, shop around looking for better deals and expect things to be done very quickly. However, despite this last trait, they are poor at filling in paperwork and returning calls.

• Women are viewed as being better organised, with a better grasp of their financial situation and easier to deal with. They are more likely to listen to advice, less concerned with obtaining the lowest interest rate (as long as they feel they are getting a good deal) and tend to remain loyal to an adviser. They take longer to make a decision but once it is made tend to stick with the product purchased.

• Men prefer to meet their adviser at the adviser&#39s office, usually on their own, during the day. Women prefer meetings to be held during the evening at their home where two-thirds of them will be accompanied either by their partner or a parent.

These findings confirm many of the claims made by psychologists about the way men and women approach and manage their financial affairs. Studies have found that women use money to create &#39lifestyles&#39 – they tend to consume now, rather than invest for the future. It is claimed that they have less confidence when it comes to financial matters and as a result are more concerned with the fear of losing money than the chance of making it. This makes them more risk averse, leads them to favour conservative, easy to understand products and investments and to rely upon the endorsement of friends and relatives before reaching a final decision.

Men operate very differently. It appears they view money as a measure of their own self worth i.e. how well they are doing in life compared to their friends and neighbours. As a result men look to accumulate wealth. When it comes to the stock market, men trade more often, take more risk and whether it is justified or not are much more confident about their financial acumen.

Sun Bank marketing director Chris Cummings says: “From a customer&#39s perspective, purchasing a financial product whether it is a mortgage, a pension or a life policy is a more complicated psychological process than say buying a washing machine. Because it is a more important decision more trust is involved and brokers are more likely to develop this trust if they tailor their advice to meet not just a customer&#39s financial but also their psychological needs.

“Academic research and the experience of brokers suggests that men are looking to do deals and accumulate wealth while women, who by nature appear to be far more cautious, are more concerned with security. Brokers will be making a mistake if they try to sell to men and women in the same way.”

The research indicates that women will feel most comfortable with long-term fixed rate products from lenders they have heard of (even if they are not offering the best rate), and that they will be less likely than men to remortgage. Because men will take risks they will be prepared to borrow from lenders with a lower profile, look for a market leading rate, purchase more complicated products and will look to remortgage on a regular basis to take advantage of the best rates available.