Just a sixth (16 per cent) of regulated financial advisers in the UK are women according to the Financial Conduct Authority’s records.
In response to a Freedom of Information request submitted by FTAdviser, the regulator laid out the number of advisers on its books by title. It does not record the gender of individuals.
While 35,066 were listed under ‘Mr’, just 6,936 were listed under ‘Mrs’, ‘Miss’ and ‘Ms’. The data covers both those individuals ‘certified’ by authorised firms and those working as appointed representatives.
There were also 147 advisers with other, non-gender specific titles, such as ‘Director’, ‘Doctor’ and ‘Principal’, and 272 titles which were left blank.
FTAdviser has left these figures out of its percentage calculations. They represent less than 1 per cent of all advisers registered with the FCA.
Number of individuals certified by authorised firms
Individuals authorised by the FCA as CF30
|Non-gender specific titles||94||53|
“I expected it to be lower than 20 per cent. That’s the general feeling I get when I walk into a room, so I’m not surprised,” London-based IFA Cleona Lira told FTAdviser.
“But I am surprised in the sense that women are naturally good for this role, they’re good at communicating and listening.
“Speaking to male financial advisers only highlights this. There are, of course, very good male listeners too. But I’m speaking very generally.
“People don’t like that word ‘patriarchy’, but women have been left out of the financial services industry. So from a systemic point of view, this figure doesn’t shock me.”
Lira runs educational investing workshops for women in her spare time. She said she finds money is an area which seems scary to women and makes them feel small.
“There’s still something about money and this industry which intimidates us.”
According to a report published by the Personal Finance Society in April which collated experiences from 15 women in the financial planning industry across the UK, the advice industry is still promoting sexist stereotypes and barriers to female career progression.
Some women said they were less likely to be considered appropriate for senior roles, such as a financial planner, because it is perceived to be masculine.
One chartered financial planner said in the report: “I think both of them [men and women] are capable of doing the same quality work in all areas, but they are perceived differently. I think that the problem is because if a woman comes and says something in a really stern voice, for instance, reaction is completely different to when a man does it.
"And, I think it’s how other people perceive it. But I think that it’s the perception rather than the actual natural ability that people have.”
Some larger advice firms have also pointed to the gender imbalance of advisers as systemic.