Your IndustryJun 12 2019

It is time to debunk financial stereotypes

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It does not take a detective to work out that there is a vastly unequal split of male and female financial advisers.

Simply looking out at the homogenous sea of faces at most industry events is proof enough. Considering half of the people in need of advice are female, this can not be the best way for our industry to operate.

I was recently at one of these industry events when the subject of female advisers came up.

Indeed, one adviser was honest enough to assert that he felt many of his female clients would probably prefer a female adviser. It is no wonder, as the feedback I often get is that female advisers display more empathy and are considered better listeners.

The adviser in question, however, confessed he was struggling to find a female adviser to employ, as there were simply too few out there.

In today’s environment, the perception that financial decisions are typically made by the patriarch of the family is clearly outdated.

Indeed, our research shows that 40 per cent of women aged 30 to 45-years-old are the primary decision-makers when it comes to household finances.

This says nothing of the skewed female bias we see among those aged 80 or more, as females outlive their male counterparts by a number of years.

In direct contrast, some estimates show just 11 per cent of financial advisers are female.

Not only do these figures demonstrate that our industry is currently not representative of the clients it is serving, but also that vast numbers of women are missing out on a fantastic career that could be an ideal fit for them.

We are working hard to ensure more women are aware of the merits of a career as a financial adviser.

We are proud that around 35 per cent of all our graduates are female, but we also realise that there is still a significant way to go to readdress the balance.

Whether it is a young woman coming out of university, a career-changer or a mother returning to work, our profession needs to make sure a career in advice represents an inclusive and interesting option to pursue.

We all need to work harder to debunk stereotypes that often act as barriers to women considering a career in this profession.

Scott Stevens is director of adviser recruitment and acquisition at Quilter