The financial advice industry is gripped in a vicious cycle, which despite positive steps forward in recent years continues to lock women out of the profession.
Financial adviser schools like ours are doing their bit to help improve the gender balance within the profession.
At present there is a gender split on our courses of around 70 per cent men to 30 per cent women (compared with the industry average of around 84 per cent to 16 per cent) but this is still a far cry from legitimately tackling the gender imbalance in our profession.
Recent research from The WealthiHer Network shone a light on why the industry continues to be male dominated.
It showed that 75 per cent of women fundamentally believe there is a difference in the way men and women invest and their attitudes to risk.
However, for many years the investment industry and financial advice as a whole has marketed itself predominantly to men.
So we have a situation here where the industry fails to market itself to female consumers.
They feel disengaged as a result, and it naturally follows that they do not rush to join the financial advice profession. The result is a dearth of female advisers.
Gabriela Strug, a financial planner at Quilter Private Client Advisers, recently explained to me: “Some of my female clients say that they feel more comfortable with a female adviser.
“This is particularly true for clients seeking financial advice after life events such as divorce or the death of a partner.”
This should give the industry pause for thought as the Office for National Statistics claims that by 2025, 65 per cent of the UK’s wealth will be controlled by women.
First, we need to market financial services better to female consumers by recognising that they have different investment needs, financial goals and relate to finance differently.
This in turn should mean that more women engage with financial services, and only then can we truly expect to coherently illustrate how attractive it is to work within it.
Therefore it rests with everyone in the financial advice sector to go out and reveal to family, friends or whoever will listen, how fantastic this profession can be.
Scott Stevens is head of adviser recruitment and development for Quilter Financial Advisers
Financial Adviser's Diversity in Finance Awards 2020 has now opened for entries to celebrate those companies and individuals who have gone the extra mile to incorporate D&I policies and implement best practice for their staff, stakeholders and consumers. Visit https://diversityinfinance.ftadviser.com/ to find out more.