Your Industry  

How boosting diversity will be good for your advice business

“We believe women are looking for a lifetime financial coach that will work with them on their personal goals through their life events in a much more collaborative and consultative fashion than they’re currently receiving.”

However, she notes the Centre for Talent Innovation’s findings that 73 per cent of women felt their financial adviser misunderstood them.

Ms Lofts continues: “Women are happy using technology, but when it comes to more complex decision making, they expect face-to-face meetings to be high quality.  

“It is vital that wealth managers actively attract and retain what is an increasingly important client segment.”

Also speaking at Pimfa’s wealth and diversity conference, Anna Sofat, chief executive of Addidi Wealth, pointed out the gender pay gap – which still exists – is the biggest in financial services.

But to create the shift and the change from the top, the industry must start to create the change from the bottom, she said.

“Strong people often create a culture that many of us follow, but it’s little decisions that we make every day that make those changes and create those ripples,” she continued.

“Next time you see something not quite right, think to yourself, ‘What is it that I’m going to do?’ – be the change you want to see in the industry.”

Real progress

In order to attract and retain this increasingly important client segment, the industry  must embody diversity and inclusion.

In February, the Treasury confirmed it will be looking to assess whether companies have made sufficient progress towards diversity when the second Women in Finance Charter annual review is published in March, which will provide updates on the industry’s improvement.

The government’s first Women in Finance Charter, designed to promote gender diversity, currently has some 300 financial services companies signed up. These organisations collectively employ 780,000 professionals, representing 60 per cent of the sector.

Patrick Connolly, head of communications at Chase de Vere, says “the industry image of a financial adviser is probably a white, middle-aged male”, but that “there are also many fantastic existing and budding advisers who don’t fit this stereotype”.

Approximately 17 per cent advisers at the company are female, “which we believe is higher than the industry average,” says Mr Connolly.

He says: “There are many factors that influence the overall figures and we are keen to explore how we can improve diversity at all levels. 

“When recruiting advisers our aim is simply to recruit the best people, regardless of their background.”

He adds: “However, we also want to provide opportunities for a diverse range of people to build their careers as financial advisers.” 

Similarly, Mark Insley, managing director and founder of Ascot Wealth Management, says: “We are always on the lookout for fresh, young talent, whilst not dismissing the knowledge and wisdom from the older generation.