IFAs risk losing female clients after death of their partner

IFAs risk losing female clients after death of their partner
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Half of advisers have lost the business of a female client following the death of her partner, a report has claimed.

Fidelity International's Unlocking the Power of Advice report found older women were particularly prone to losing touch with their financial adviser because they were less engaged with their finances, and adviser, in the first place.

According to 45 per cent of the 406 IFAs interviewed in February, the surviving client took the opportunity to choose their own adviser and 40 per cent said their client preferred to choose an adviser of a different sex.

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Jackie Boylan, head of FundsNetwork at Fidelity, said: “The days where the man looked after the household’s finances have largely passed, but there’s still a discrepancy when it comes to financial advice.

"Financial advisers need to be engaging with both partners in a couple when discussing the household wealth to ensure both feel informed and valued.” 

Keir Ashman, pensions and investments specialist at flat-fee wealth manager Bancroft Wealth, added: "While it's not always the case, with older couples it's typical for men to do 99 per cent of the talking in financial advice meetings.

"They will almost always be in charge of the financial decisions, having been the primary earner in the majority of cases.”

Mr Ashman recommended the process of forming a better relationship should start before the person who handles the household's finances passes away, irrespective of their gender.

Advisers should make a conscious effort to include the other party and ask their opinion on everything, building up both trust and financial knowledge, he said.

However, the report also found 49 per cent of female clients no longer wanted to receive any financial advice at all upon the death of their partner.

The gender discrepancy is not limited to older generations either; young women were half as likely to seek financial advice as young men.

Ms Boylan said: “Financial advice could play a significant role in helping more women get invested but currently too many feel like advice is ‘not for them”

While much has been done to close the financial gap between men and women, with increasing numbers of women participating in workplace pensions, there is still a significant divide. On average, women in their 60s have £100,000 less saved into their pension than men.

Several factors discourage women from seeking advice, including a lack of confidence when it comes to dealing with money. Women are far more likely to think that they don’t have enough money to warrant looking for financial advice. 

Additionally, some women do not seek advice because of a lack of knowledge of the benefits, the report found, while others believed the cost of financial advice was prohibitive. 

Michelle Cracknell, an independent consultant and former Tpas chief executive, said: “As well as intimidation, it is probably a reflection of being put off finance and investments in general.