28th February 2020 - Jodie Norman

Why we need more women in the financial services industry

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 retire , 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 several 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 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 out the numbers, 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.

I joined Herbert Scott in 2013 and have seen the team grow from four women to seven which is great.  I am currently studying towards my Diploma qualification, in anticipation of  becoming a Financial Planner in due course. That said, at Herbert Scott, everyone is encouraged to complete professional exams and take the next steps to becoming a Financial Planner, regardless of whether they are male or female

If you are considering appointing a financial adviser, or changing your current one,  and think you might find conversations easier with a female financial planner, please do get in touch on 01273 407500. We would love to hear from you.

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