Just 6% of female paraplanners want to be advisers

Just 6% of female paraplanners want to be advisers
Jason Alden/Bloomberg

Female paraplanners are much less likely to become advisers than their male counterparts, despite most having, or in the process of getting, adviser qualifications.

Just 6 per cent of female paraplanners said they would like to go on to become a financial adviser, while 17 per cent said they might become an IFA, according to data published by Quilter’s financial planning arm last week (June 1).

In addition, more than five times the number of male paraplanners (41 per cent) said they would like to become a financial adviser, with 21 per cent saying they might like to.

This means the vast majority (77 per cent) of female paraplanners do not want to become financial advisers, compared to the minority (38 per cent) of male paraplanners not looking to take up the profession.

Of the 120 paraplanners surveyed, Quilter also looked more closely at those who had been in their roles for three years or less.

Male paraplanners in this category were more likely to consider a career in advice, but female paraplanners were more likely to not want to advise - despite most of them having, or being in the process of obtaining, QCF level 4.

“Paraplanning has previously been viewed as a gateway to becoming a financial adviser but this research shows that it is becoming a profession within its own right,” said Quilter Financial Planning’s business consultant and behavioural economist, Mark Pittaccio.

“However, while this is positive it is odd that there continues to be such a big difference between the aspirations of female and male paraplanners.

“The research shows that even when individuals are attracted into the industry the decision to become an adviser is heavily biased towards males. Surveys of financial adviser communities have shown that misperceptions about the nature of financial planning, particularly amongst women, strongly affect their interest in becoming financial planners.”

Pittaccio said there continues to be a perception that advice requires strong sales skills, so showing women that advice is instead far more about creating long-lasting relationships with clients may help attract them to the advice profession.

“It is incredibly important that we breakdown whatever systems are in place that are contributing to these differences in aspirations and ultimately improve the profession,” he explained.

“One of the points we need to address is the vicious circle where women see fewer visible role models in the profession as they are underrepresented and then are less likely to a pursue a career in the sector. Breaking this cycle will go some way to helping to improve the diversity of the profession.”