More women are needed in Financial Advice.
An Important Year for Women
This year marks 100 years since the Representation of the People Act – the act of parliament which gave women the chance to vote for the first time in the UK.
Since then, women’s equality has come a long way. Women are represented at all levels of society. But one area where women are perhaps underrepresented is in the realm of financial advisers.
According to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request published in March last year by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), there were 31,812 registered individuals holding a CF1 director position at regulated financial firms. Of these, 26,623 were men, 4,896 were women and a further 293 did not disclose their gender.
While the FOI response does not focus solely on advice firms, it shows that women are underrepresented in the profession. This is a particular problem, especially as women need financial advice now more than ever before.
More Women In Need of Financial Advice
In an article last year, Hayley North, managing director of London-based Rose & North, stated that there was a bias in the advice process itself. Most advice services appear to be targeted at men. She stated:-
“Women as a group suffer from the fact that the advice process has been tailored towards men and their typical career trajectories and life expectancies … Women should be saving more earlier in their careers and may need to plan for longer retirements. In some cases they need to plan for career breaks and changes in working patterns and income.”
A study from Investec Wealth & Investment reported in the FT Advisor in September last year showed that increasing numbers of women are seeking financial advice due to higher rates of divorce and the rise of female entrepreneurs.
The research among advisers found that women accounted for 40% of clients in 2012 but had risen to 47% of new clients gained over the past two years. Advisers stated that the biggest factors increasing the number of female clients on their books were divorce, in 51% of cases, and the death of their spouse, in 35%.
Across the board, female clients are wanting to take more control of their financial circumstances; particularly with the growth of women succeeding in business.
More Women Needed in Financial Advice
It was highlighted by the FT Advisor that, on average, women save more of their income than men do, but keep more of it in cash. This means that the asset management industry could be winning a lot more money if it did more to appeal to women.
Up until now, the financial advice industry has been a male dominated culture. Many in the industry are slowly waking up to this, but in general there isn’t much happening to improve the situation. Advisers such as Vanessa Barnes, principal at London-based Hannay, are taking action to redress the balance. She states:
“The evidence shows if you have more women at a higher level the company will do better. We also believe women make for better planners. They listen better and take less of a sales approach. We think it is important that more women are recruited into the industry.”
A Better Image of Financial Advisors
At Haven, we believe that there is a need for more female advisers to truly reflect the gender balance of our clients. The old attitude of commission-hungry salesmen is something we consigned to the past many years ago. Our goal has always been to deliver the best advice that our individual clients need, which means having women advisors available for our female clients to talk to.
It is encouraging to the changes that are taking place within the industry and amongst clients. We have seen increasing numbers of couples taking joint responsibility for managing the relationship with their adviser. In the past, men have tended to take this role among older generations, but fortunately this is showing clear signs of change.
We believe strongly that it is in our clients’ best interests for both partners to be equally involved in this key relationship, and for women to take a strong control of their financial futures.
If you are looking for impartial financial advice to help plan for your future, talk to Sue Campion at Haven. email@example.com