Traditionally, financial advice and wealth management has been a male-dominated industry, with estimates suggesting that female advisers are outnumbered by male counterparts by a ratio anywhere from 10:1 to 6:1. But in the past few years, there’s been a shift. It’s about time: as well as ensuring equal representation in the workplace, gender equality is an important issue worldwide – so if the financial advice industry is to remain relevant, there needs to be more women. Why? For starters, as advisers age out of the industry, the next generation isn’t entering the field fast enough to fill the gap, which means the industry is on the brink of a major disruption. And as financial advice becomes increasingly holistic, more customers are saying they want a female adviser. Whilst a number of leading firms have initiatives in place to increase the number of women choosing financial advice careers, things are off to a slow start – and the world of finance is still hugely male-dominated.
Finance is a (wo)man’s world
Many still view finance as a man’s world – but if we take a look at the statistics, that is all changing. Half of married women with a business-related degree out-earn their husbands, whilst 80% of women will be solely responsible for their household’s finances at some point. Women will also inherit 70% of the wealth passed down over the next two generations – which means they will control ⅔ of household wealth by 2030. In fact, about 53% of UK millionaires will be female by 2025. When it comes to financial advice careers, up to 70% of women who work with financial advisers prefer female advisers, and 34% of financial advisers believe their firm should employ more female advisers – however, despite all this, current estimates suggest that female financial advisers account for just 15% of the total adviser population. Here’s why the financial advice industry needs more female advisers…
More women leaders = more women trainees
Financial advice and wealth management is often still seen as a male-dominated, sales-focused world. Many see finance as something of an old boys club, with the image of the 80s bankers on the trading floor still dominating people’s minds. But if firms are to bridge the adviser gap and encourage more young advisers to join the industry – including women – there needs to be more female leaders to attract young, motivated women to the industry. The Treasury’s Women in Finance Charter – an initiative started in 2016 to boost gender diversity – encourages firms to pledge to increase the number of women in senior positions. With more women at the helm, a greater proportion will be encouraged to join the sector at a grass-roots level and even numbers out, helping to fill the adviser gap.
Appeal to a bigger variety of clients
In today’s world, potential clients come from all walks of life – and the more the make-up of the advice industry reflects the wider population, the more likely you are to attract a mix of clients. Traditional older, male financial advice clients are passing away, with many leaving their spouses in charge of financial affairs – and older female clients often leave the advisers of their late husbands for someone they are more comfortable with. But it’s not just older generations who want to work with female advisers. There are also more successful, young single females and female breadwinners that prefer dealing with female advisers who talk the same language as them without jargon, whilst some male clients have different needs and prefer the ‘gentle’ approach of female advisers, too.
Benefit from a different skillset
Ultimately, financial advice comes down to trust and building relationships. Developing relationships with clients involves listening, empathising and asking questions to go above and beyond the typical role of a financial adviser. In order to do this effectively, advisers need to sit with their clients, really get to know them and find out what they want to achieve and why. Every client has different drivers – and good advisers need to really listen to their clients so they can understand their goals and help them achieve them. Women typically have a different skill set to men – they are often more empathetic, intuitive and good at listening – and these skills are really important when it comes to building relationships, growing trust and offering bespoke financial advice.
Offer a holistic approach
In addition to investment and returns, financial advice today is becoming more holistic. From talking to your children about money and caring for ageing parents to putting children through university, financial advice is becoming more personal – and this type of holistic financial advice is an approach that is really well suited to women. It’s not just about assets or net worth; it’s about goals, ambitions and personal wellbeing. As a financial adviser, you wouldn’t usually expect your clients to tell you about their dream holiday, the kitchen they want or what universities their kids hope to go to. But when taking a more holistic approach to financial advice, these things are all important. Post RDR, it’s no longer about pushing products in exchange for commission, but wanting to make a difference in people’s lives.
Inspire and go forward
Over the years, we’ve spoken to hundreds of incredibly inspiring women, who are breaking the usual stereotypes within the financial planning profession.
Here’s a hand-picked list of just a few of the women we think are breaking the mould:
- Sarah Tucker AKA the mortgage mum, Her whole business model is set up around mums managing their work-life around their family commitments, smashing the stereotype of the typical mortgage company which in turn attracts a different type of client, double whammy!
- Chanelle Pattinson is an IFA from P&P invest Ltd, we talk about her journey as a young female in the financial planning profession and how being the only female her age at a PFS conference sparked the idea of creating an online community for young women in financial planning.
- Makala Green of Green Wealth Planning, Chartered financial expert and the first black female chartered financial planner in the UK
- Luiza Todd of Bespoke training solutions! It’s fair to say Luiza knows a thing two about passing Cii qualifications, over the last 16 years she’s helped tens of thousands of students Pass their R0 exams.
- Cathi Harrison, CEO of the Verve Group: a collection of companies that provide outsourced paraplanning, compliance, and training for financial planning companies.
- Catherine Morgan who is a multi-award-winning financial planner, podcast host & financial coach at Money Panel.
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