To provide all clients with a truly valuable experience, and to attract future business, advice companies must understand and reflect changes in the community to stay relevant.
This is important because advisers rely on clients for business.
While the industry has made some progress in recognising this, too many companies are still failing to attract women as clients, as well as young female talent, according to senior figures in financial services.
Clearly, more needs to be done. Unless they work hard to genuinely boost and embody diversity within their own organisation, any other efforts to attract, connect and retain women as clients will not be successful.
So, companies must work hard to close the gender gap within the workforce or risk alienating a large portion of potential clients – women, younger generations and those from different cultural and socio-economic backgrounds – from financial services.
What is on offer?
What exactly do diverse clients offer your business? Put simply, they are the future.
Speaking at the first Personal Investment Management and Financial Advice Association wealth and diversity conference on February 5, Liz Field, chief executive of Pimfa said it was great to see diversity and equality now the subject of crucial discussions.
She explained: “With an increasingly diverse client base and shifting wealth patterns, the need for diversity in our workforce is fundamental – not just to meet the needs of existing and potential clients, but also to help shape perceptions, and attract and retain the best talent.”
Also speaking at the conference, Amy Clarke, co-founder of Tribe Impact Capital – a wealth manager using the UN Sustainable Development Goals as a framework for uncovering client’s values, measure and report portfolio performance – said: “By 2025, roughly over 60 per cent of the disposable wealth in the UK and in the US will be in female hands.
“The intergender transfer that’s happening at the moment is absolutely profound, it’s game changing socially, economically, environmentally and politically.
“We hear about the intergenerational transfer, but we don’t hear enough about the intergender transfer of wealth.”
Ms Clarke added: “While that’s really exciting, if we don’t catch that and if we don’t respond to that as an industry, we run the risk of becoming obsolete really quickly.”
Diversity in practice
Gillian Lofts, UK head of wealth and asset management at EY, says a deep understanding by advisers of women’s personal goals and priorities is vital to attracting them as clients.
Indeed, in 2018 research by EY Seren, based on interviews with 250 wealthy investors, found women placed particular value on advisers who clearly explained their investment views and decisions, with clear substantive explanations seen as an important driver of trust.
Ms Lofts explains: “Women view achieving their personal goals as more important than investment performance.