Long Read  

How can industry support LGBTQ+ clients?

How can industry support LGBTQ+ clients?
(Brielle French/Unsplash)

There are a number of things that the LGBTQ+ community might find challenging about accessing financial services.

The good news is that there are a lot of ways you can look to improve the service that you provide to make it more accessible. Let’s face it, no one wants to upset clients, damage their reputation or spend resources speaking to people who do not sign up for services.

I would love to provide you with more stats to tell you how many people this information impacts. There has been very little research done so far, which just shows how much LGBTQ+ people do not get prioritised.

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In 2020 the Office for National Statistics reported that 3.1 per cent of over 16s identify as LGB and charity Stonewall has estimated that 1 per cent of people are trans or non-binary. That might not seem like a lot at face value, but that could add up to 2,460,000 people (we do not know how many people fit into both categories). 

We need to make sure that financial planning is accessible and LGBTQ+ issues are known about and taken into account when we speak to our stakeholders.

Thinking about language

‘What if the client doesn’t identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community?’, you might find yourself asking. The simple answer is that every one of these people will have loved ones and they might very well identify as the above, so not being aware of these issues could create a challenge.

Language is powerful; it is one of our biggest tools to engage with our audience. It is also a low-cost way to make changes for the better. Using inclusive language will help your clients and prospects feel like they are in a safe space. It will help to build trust.

When you are asking for someone’s details, asking for their name is usually first on the list. It is asking them what to address them as and how to refer to them – you do not know until you ask them if that is how they like to be known.

Asking if a client has a preferred name should be quite simple, it is also nothing new – like the people who like to be called Dave instead of David. If someone is in transition they may or may not have changed their name legally, so it is really important that you offer to use a name that makes them feel comfortable.

Another one is title. I have lost count of the number of providers who have not been able to give Mx as an option. It is what is on my ID and it is part of my name. Why are companies putting people off using their services? It is something that I look for above price.