Women are becoming more active as investors in mutual funds and stocks, a recent survey shows.

Twenty-two percent of households led by women owned retail stock or mutual funds last year, compared with 16% in 1996 and 12% in 1994, according to a survey by SRI Consulting of Princeton, N.J. Thirteen percent owned publicly traded stock, up from 10% in 1996 and 7% in 1994.

"Financial institutions need to start thinking about their female customers as a nonhomogeneous group," said Larry Cohen, director of SRI's consumer financial decisions group. There are many women who are "financially savvy, and if you approach them in the wrong way you really turn them off."

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