Diversity  

'Focus on positives' to close the gender pension gap

The panel agreed that having more women promoted to and hired into senior financial roles would be vital to helping female clients feel more financially secure.

Ms Morrissey highlighted work Royal London had done with The Wisdom Council recently, which found that women are not necessarily more risk-averse than men or lack confidence as many of these women are more than capable of managing their own money. But they just did not feel that women like them would invest.

"When asked whether they invested, the vast majority of these women said 'No'. But they all were saving into a pension. So when we said 'if you have a pension, then you are an investor', their levels of interest ticked up markedly."

This is where the financial adviser is so vital in helping to boost the financial understanding and capability of both their male and female clients, the panel said, and having more women in advice roles could help break down some of the traditional barriers.

Ms Hughes explained: "While Financial Conduct Authority data shows only one in five advisers is female, the PFS's latest graduation ceremony had more than 30 per cent female advisers coming through. So it is changing."

But it is not just about getting more women into the industry, but also looking at the client as a couple. Even if the man is the main breadwinner, it is important that advisers ensure both clients are given a voice in their financial decision-making.

And more female representation in pensions and investment would help, too.

Last year, Morningstar data showed there were more fund managers called Dave or David than there were women running investment funds. But, as Ms Morgan said, this was starting to change, particular as more women are getting involved in the 'newer' industries such as the environmental, social and governance investment arena, as well as passive investment management.

Indeed, Ms Morrissey spoke of the importance of mentoring, across the pensions, investment and financial advice sectors, helping to bring more women into the industry and train them up. 

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Financial Adviser's Diversity in Finance Awards 2020 is still open 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.