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Why are women less likely to seek advice?

Why are women less likely to seek advice?

New data has shown that the vast majority of women have never gone to a regulated financial adviser, raising questions as to why they are less likely to seek professional advice than men.

Opinium Research surveyed 2,002 adults for Unbiased, finding that around 61 per cent of women have never sought advice from a financial adviser, compared to 53 per cent of men.

The study also revealed that women are less likely than men to seek professional financial advice across all areas of finances, with only 7 per cent of women having already taken advice to help them plan for retirement, compared to 16 per cent of men.

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A further 34 per cent of women who have not already gone to an adviser said they would never seek professional financial advice, with only 12 per cent saying they plan to seek advice in the future.

Karen Barrett, chief executive of Unbiased, admitted that women are markedly less likely to seek advice in retirement planning and that this was something that the industry needs to focus on.

Claire Walsh, a financial adviser at Aspect 8, believes that its not necessarily that women do not want to seek advice, but maybe they are not looking for advice from men. “Fifty-five per cent of my clients are women, so I think women aren’t seeking advice from men a lot of the time.”

She explained that most of her clients are between 50 and 70, with younger clients generally being men as they often have more wealth or make the decisions about a couple’s finances.

“Not necessarily in a sexist way, but I think in relationships people take different roles - it doesn’t necessarily mean they are less capable. I think generally it is the men that make the decisions, but where it is the women, I think they are more likely to go to a female adviser.

“I think it is a stereotype that women are less engaged in finance, which I think is actually true.”

Another stereotype which is repeated is that women are more cautious and will ask different questions to men, according to Ms Walsh.

“I think women’s questions are more about security and consistency and they will drill down into details, while men focus more on fees and returns; but that is a bit of a generalisation.”

Research carried out by risk specialist FinaMetrica found that in 64 per cent of couples, men had a higher risk tolerance than their female partners.

The firm’s founder Paul Resnik stating: “Advisers must consider the risk preferences of each person in a couple in giving investment advice – and should not ignore the needs of the less risk-tolerant partner, who is usually the woman.”

Sebastian Hurst, an adviser at Plutus Wealth Management, added that a lack of female advisers in the sector could explain Ms Walsh’s findings and he agreed that females may not want to seek advice from males.

“I don’t have any gender bias in my advice - female advisers have commented that they don’t see any gender bias - so I’m a bit surprised to be honest,” he commented.