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Adviser dumps lender over 'sexist' advert

Adviser dumps lender over 'sexist' advert

A broker has dumped a bridging lender from his panel over a "sexist" advert fellow advisers branded "unacceptable" and "horrific".

The advert — which shows a faceless woman unbuttoning her shirt alongside the caption ‘looking for lower?’ — was used by peer-to-peer and bridging loan lender the BridgeCrowd to advertise its minimum lending starting point on bridging loans.

The promotion, which was sent to advisers via email, has been harshly criticised, with broker Brightstar going as far as to drop the lender from its panel.

Rob Jupp, chief executive of Brightstar, said it was the first time he had terminated a lender from the firm’s panel.

He said: "There’s no place for this sort of rubbish. Let’s do something about these dinosaurs."

Clare Jupp, director of people development at Brightstar, called out the advert for being "absolutely unacceptable" and "horrifically sexist".

She said: "We removed them because it’s not just about the values of your own organisation but also the people you’re in partnership with.

"We do not want to be in partnership with someone who does not share those values."

Ms Jupp said it was particularly upsetting to see the advert on the same day it was announced that HM Treasury’s Women in Finance charter was driving change in the industry and now has 350 signatories.

She added: "It perpetuates all the things about the finance sector those of us backing the charter are trying to move away from.

"Every time a company uses an image of a woman in this way, you’re going completely backwards when we’ve taken so many steps forward."

Brightstar received positive feedback on social media for removing the BridgeCrowd. Some respondents described the advert as "offensive and unnecessary" while others said it looked like something "out of the 80s".

Anna Sofat, director of advice firm Addidi and a vocal spokesperson for women in the finance sector, said: "There are two ways we can look at this. The first is anger and utter disappointment that advertisements like this one, clearly appealing to a financial advisory community which stubbornly remains male and pale, are still deemed to be suitable in 2019.

"It goes without saying that there is nothing empowering about this, and it’s unsurprising that we have huge problems both serving and employing women in our industry."

But Ms Sofat added the second way to view the advert and its repercussions was a "glimmer of hope".

Referring to Mr Jupp, she said: "The fact that a male adviser, a business owner no less, wasn’t immune to the sexism and rightly called it out before taking positive action.

"I wish there were more like him. This is exactly what we are asking advisers to do via our ‘Are You In’ movement — I hope others will join us in this mission to create a better industry for everyone."