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How flexible is financial advice for women?

“We will know we have achieved equality of opportunity when we start asking about the needs of working parents, rather than assuming women must always be the primary carers in a family,” Ms Ingram stresses. 

But while Ms Owen of Quilter acknowledges the financial advice industry is male dominated, she still considers the industry to be welcoming for women. 

“The advice industry is hugely male dominated, but that does not mean it isn’t female friendly,” she says. 

She adds that 99 per cent of clients at Quilter do not consider gender a factor when pursuing financial advice, as long as the adviser “fits the credentials and provides trustworthy advice”. 

Setting up businesses 

Some women in the industry have set up their own businesses in pursuit of greater flexibility. 

Would their career have been different had they continued to work as an employed adviser instead of setting up their own business? 

Rebecca Robertson started Evolution Financial Planning in 2011.

The company is solely made up of female advisers, and aims to cater to everybody, including female clients. 

Her journey was far from easy. She says she was made redundant when she was 14 weeks pregnant with her first child in 2007. 

“There were no jobs in financial services. I was unemployed and had to go to [various] job centres. It was a very humbling experience. I got back into the industry a year or so later.”

However, she says when she returned to the industry she did not like the “sales culture” she saw. 

She notes her career would not have been the same had she not ventured out and started her own thing. 

Ms Sofat set up her own business in 2006, which became Addidi Wealth in 2008, mainly due to not feeling good about the integrity of a business.

For Ms Sofat, the benefits outweighed the tough aspects of starting a business. 

She says: “It took me a while to really settle on what I wanted to do.

“I knew I wanted to work with women. It was always important to me that my clients felt empowered and that it was a collaborative relationship with a good balance between give and take.”

Uniq’s Ms Outrim says anything that enables people to build greater soft skills and emotional intelligence is key, as many clients’ issues revolve around factors beyond personal finance, such as death of a spouse, for example.

“A client came to me whose wife died a week ago. They had been married for 57 years and all he wanted to talk to me was about his wife, and I gave him the time and space to do that,” she says.