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Women turn to advisers as society shifts

Women turn to advisers as society shifts

More women are seeking financial advice due to increasing rates of divorce and the rise of female entrepreneurs, according to a study by Investec Wealth & Investment.

The research among advisers found women accounted for 40 per cent of clients in 2012 but 47 per cent of new clients gained over the past two years.

Advisers said the biggest factors increasing the number of female clients on their books were divorce, in 51 per cent of cases, and the death of their spouse, in 35 per cent. 

More than a quarter – 26 per cent – of advisers said one of the main drivers behind the increase in female clients is they are taking more control of their financial circumstances; a fifth – 19 per cent – cited the growth of women succeeding in business.

Mark Stevens, head of intermediary services at Investec Wealth & Investment, said: “The research suggests that women are getting more involved in their financial affairs.

“Women are of growing importance to IFAs and we can expect to see their client bases continue moving away from a male bias towards a balanced gender split.

“It’s also encouraging to see that increasing numbers of couples are taking joint responsibility for managing the relationship with their adviser.

“Men have tended to take this role among older generations but fortunately this is showing clear signs of change. 

“It has to be in the clients’ best interests for both partners to be equally involved in this key relationship.

“Given the growing importance of women as clients, surprisingly few firms are currently taking steps to encourage greater gender diversity among their advisers but this may start to gather momentum over the coming years as the industry evolves.”

The research also highlighted a trend among joint clients towards taking equal responsibility for managing the adviser relationship.

In 2012 advisers estimated that under a quarter – 23 per cent – of joint clients involved both partners taking equal responsibility compared to 27 per cent today. 

Despite the increasing number of female clients, on average, IFAs estimated that only 11 per cent of their advisers were currently female and almost half – 47 per cent – of firms have no female advisers. 

Just 5 per cent of firms said they were looking to encourage greater gender diversity among their advisers in order to attract a greater number of female staff.

Kevin Morgan, managing director of Consilium Financial Planning, said: “We have some widowed clients but increasingly we are seeing young professionals who are bread winners and we have no reason to think it will stop.

“From the industry perspective we need to see more female advisers as well. It is still a populated by white middle-class males.”

The research was conducted among 101 advisers in June.