View more on these topics

Gender bias in financial advice revealed by research

Clients receive different financial advice depending on their and their adviser’s gender, according to research by King’s Business School.

A study into advice given to high net worth clients shows female advisers are most likely to judge female clients as being less in control of their wealth and male advisers are most likely to recommend male clients higher risk investments.

King’s Business School lecturer in banking and finance, Dr Ylva Baeckstrom, a former private banker, based her research on work with 129 experienced UK-based investment advisers specialising in millionaire clients.

Each member of the group was given information about ten fictitious clients whose genders were switched. The advisers rated each client on their likely financial knowledge and the degree of control over their investments and then chose the most suitable of seven different risk-rated portfolios for each person.

On average male and females were recommend similar risk-rated portfolios. But females were rated as having less control over their investments and female advisers tended to rate this group lower on financial knowledge and control than the male advisers.

Female advisers also tended to recommend lower risk portfolios to female clients than to male ones.

The research shows the highest risk portfolios were more likely to be recommended by male advisers to the male clients.

Baeckstrom says: “previous studies have looked at how investors rate their own financial knowledge and attitude to risk, but the potential ‘interference’ caused by gender biases that advisers have internalised has not been explored.

“This is important for the financial services industry as it tries to serve the needs of a growing market of independently wealthy women.”

She is concerned this will spell more problems for women on moderate incomes:

“For the millionaire clients we studied, a slightly sub-optimal choice of investments might not be life-changing.

“However, for women who are not as financially fortunate, allocating sufficient money into their private pension investments could be crucial to funding a comfortable retirement. This is why I am extending my research to investigate gender bias in advice for clients on more moderate incomes, and the role played by the roboadvisers that are establishing themselves as alternatives for this market,” says Baeckstrom.


Industry split over success of Help to Save

The pensions industry is split over whether, three years on, the government’s Help to Save initiative has been a success. The accounts were announced by former prime minister David Cameron ahead of the 2016 Budget. Figures released today show that 64,350 people have deposited just over £13 million in Help to Save accounts, receiving a combined bonus of […]


State pension court showdown set for summer

A judicial review about changes to the state pension age for millions of women born in the 1950s will take place from 5 to 6 June. The Department for Work and Pensions has confirmed that last November’s decision by the High Court to grant permission for a judicial review will go ahead in the summer. […]

Brewin Dolphin continues hiring spree for West End office

Brewin Dolphin has bolstered the office it opened last year in London’s West End with another hire. William Quantrill joins the firm after 13 years with private bank Kleinwort Hambros, taking total office headcount to 28. The office was opened to focus on high-net-worth clients with complex financial needs, offering both financial planning and investment […]


What is the average salary for a UK financial adviser?

Research shows average total earnings for employed financial advisers reached £93,100 in 2017, up from £81,500 in 2016. For self-employed financial advisers, the figure was up nearly 4 per cent year on year to £89,100.  Around 500 advisers and 150 paraplanners took part in research led by recruitment consultants BWD alongside Money Marketing, taking the […]


School fees planning

Jeremy Pearson is Technical Support Manager with Canada Life’s ican Technical Services Team. Canada Life offers a range of wealth management solutions, including retirement income planning, estate planning and investment solutions from a choice of jurisdictions, including the UK, Isle of Man and Republic of Ireland. Many parents value the standard of education offered by […]


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up


There is one comment at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Do female researchers arrive at different conclusions to male researchers?

Leave a comment


Why register with Money Marketing ?

Providing trusted insight for professional advisers.  Since 1985 Money Marketing has helped promote and analyse the financial adviser community in the UK and continues to be the trusted industry brand for independent insight and advice.

News & analysis delivered directly to your inbox
Register today to receive our range of news alerts including daily and weekly briefings

Money Marketing Events
Be the first to hear about our industry leading conferences, awards, roundtables and more.

Research and insight
Take part in and see the results of Money Marketing's flagship investigations into industry trends.

Have your say
Only registered users can post comments. As the voice of the adviser community, our content generates robust debate. Sign up today and make your voice heard.

Register now

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3712

Lines are open Monday to Friday 9:00am -5.00pm