Simoney Kyriakou  

Why the advisory profession is better than Netflix

Simoney Kyriakou

Simoney Kyriakou

There - I've said it. Advisers are better than Netflix.

What do I mean? Well, I don't mean I'd rather sit at home in my PJs, watching back-to-back episodes of Martin Bamford's podcasts of an evening, when I could be bingeing on Mad Men. Sorry, Martin.

But I do feel the make-up of Netflix's board is just not reflective of the customers it seeks to serve, compared with an advisory profession that is making huge inroads into becoming more diverse.

Based on an unscientific look at Netflix's website, I can see that, of its seven executive officers, only one is female (and in human resources), and all seven are white and middle-class, boasting Ivy League educations. 

Of its 11 directors, three are women and 10 are white. Again, all are from distinguished, privileged backgrounds. 

Given the people who are tuning into Netflix every day make up an enormous cross-section of the global population, from all backgrounds, ethnicity, diversity and genders, I would ask how a board that does not reflect the make-up of its subscribers can continue to provide content that appeals to all its subscribers?

In 2017, an interview with VICE magazine stated that Netflix was committed to making diversity a top priority.

I think it would be good if its senior executives were included in that drive, too, rather than simply a matter of programming. That said, Netflix has been pushing for more diversity at the company and improving its hiring processes.

Also, to be fair, its chief executive should be congratulated for the way in which he fired his top communications executive in June this year for twice using the N-word in meetings about sensitive words.

But I can see the advisory industry is making huge strides in improving diversity and reaching a cross-section of the population it seeks to serve. Yes, the figures would still show a huge swathe of older, white males as financial advisers but it is clear more women and young people are joining the industry.

Keith Richards, chief executive of the Personal Finance Society, said: “Overall the PFS membership is seeing a positive trend of growth in female advisers and we have increasingly seen a higher percentage of women qualifying at advanced levels which will continue in line with the increasing demand for professional advice services.”

There are more female paraplanners now than 10 years ago; more women are heading up advisory firms - and fund management companies.

There is a chairwoman now in post at the Association of British Insurers, and national advisory firms and educational bodies are committed to reaching schools and colleges and universities to bring more young people of all ethnic groups and from all backgrounds into the advisory profession.