Industry lacks data on number of black advisers

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Industry lacks data on number of black advisers
The understanding amongst some in the industry is that black advisers make up just a few per cent of the overall adviser population[Pexels/Christina Morillo]
ByRuby Hinchliffe

The financial services industry lacks data on the number of practising black advisers in the UK, despite calls for greater diversity.

FTAdviser submitted a Freedom of Information request to the Financial Conduct Authority, as well as data enquiries to the three professional bodies: the Chartered Insurance Institute, Pimfa and the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment.

However, none of the above held any data on the number of black advisers.

The CII’s data suggests between 2015 and 2019, the majority (81 per cent) of financial analysts and advisers were white, and a minority (12 per cent) were from an Asian background. This left 7 per cent of the adviser population unaccounted for.

The CII currently holds no data on adviser ethnicity beyond 2019, though a spokesperson said an updated figure will be published this quarter.

Back in December, FTAdviser asked the FCA for a breakdown of adviser ethnicity.

On January 11, the FCA replied: "We can confirm that we do not hold the information you have requested. This is because we do not collect any information on ethnicity for approved individuals."

The CISI also said it did not store the data, and Pimfa said it did not collect this sort of data.

Back in December, Pimfa's chief executive Liz Field said the industry "was already quite diverse". 

The trade association had launched a campaign to encourage more people from diverse backgrounds into financial advice.

It has previously been criticised for a lack of diversity at board level, which comprises of 11 white men and two white women.

“As the videos we have created for the ‘make it’ campaign show, the truth is the industry is already quite diverse and becoming more so all the time,” said Field at the time.

But according to the FCA's figures, just 16 per cent of advisers are women and 8 per cent are under the age of 30.

And just 6 per cent of female paraplanners want to go on to become financial advisers, compared with more than five times the number of male paraplanners.

Currently three quarters of advisers are over the age of 40, the majority of them white men based on the CII's figures.

The understanding among some in the industry is that black advisers make up just a few per cent of the overall adviser population.

Looking beyond senior staff diversity

At the end of last year, the FCA warned firms they risk "cannibalising each other" by focusing solely on the diversity of their most senior staff rather than creating sustainable pipelines of diverse talent.

In a review, the regulator said it found several instances where firms focused almost exclusively on gender representation at senior levels because there were external targets and expectations for it.