View more on these topics

Kim North: Why is advice still such a no woman’s land?

I always try to check my Twitter feed over breakfast. Recently, a tweet from IFA Philippa Gee caught my eye. She had taken her time to attend an investment conference and found she was the only woman there. Comments followed that this occurrence is far too common.

According to Unbiased, just 13 per cent of the advisers listed with it are females.

We are 100 years on from the important milestone of women being allowed to vote. However, equality for women in financial services is still a work in progress.

I had to laugh speaking to a serious senior male recently, when I was told: “Our pay equality is very good; it’s only because all the senior jobs are taken by men that the numbers are knocked out.”

I have not heard of any company paying women more or men less to reduce the gender pay gap. If this is happening behind closed doors, I am sure Money Marketing would like to know, as it is positive and newsworthy.

You do not need me to tell you about the benefits of equality. Just look at the statistics. According to research by McKinsey, gender-diverse companies are 15 per cent more likely to outperform.

Weighed down: New data sheds light on investment industry gender pay gulf

The reason for this is that scientists have discovered more than 100 generic differences in the brains of males and females. Women are great multi-taskers, while men excel in highly task-focused projects needing tunnel vision.

Females tend to use more words when discussing something, while males have fewer verbal centres and less connectivity between their word centres and memories or feelings.

How does this translate on the client side of things? Females take longer to commit; they have more questions and need to feel as if they understand things they are about to do.

This is evidenced by the considerably higher female opt-out rates in auto-enrolment, an area that can be difficult to understand and find someone able to answer probing questions.

The quid pro quo is that when a woman feels as if they understand something and think it is good, they are seven times more likely to refer it to their friends and family.

As for how we market financial products and services to women, the “shrink it and pink it” approach simply does not work.

Providers must look at removing all gendered language from customer communications. There are hundreds of words that need to be changed to represent an inclusive journey through a pension, investment or protection plan.

But back to the lack of females at investment conferences. A conference talking about alpha investment gains in emerging markets with out of date statistics for three hours is not attractive to us.

Listening to one thing, often delivered using technical language and with no interaction and networking aside from at short breaks does not sit comfortably with our neurochemicals.

It’s time to change things as we know them.

Kim North is managing director at Technology & Technical

Recommended

Technology-People-Moving-Business-Finance-700.jpg
1

Middle managers must not shirk diversity responsibilities

A BlackRock director has urged middle managers at other large fund groups to work harder to improve their diversity agendas. Speaking at an LGBT conference organised by City & Financial Global, BlackRock director and senior portfolio manager Andrew Lennox said managers of all levels at the asset management giant were incentivised to promote inclusion and diversity. […]

Treasury under fire for lack of diversity at Bank of England

The committee wants answers on the gender divide of the Bank of England’s committees The influential Treasury select committee has threatened to stop endorsing appointments to the Bank of England unless the Treasury starts nominating a more diverse range of candidates. Chair Nicky Morgan has written to Chancellor Philip Hammond demanding the Treasury publish the […]

L&G poaches from Sun Life for new product director

Legal & General has appointed Mark Jones to the role of product director of UK protection, within its insurance division. Jones joins from Sun Life. He will be responsible for the developer of both retail and group protection products, and will report into the managing director for UK protection, Steve Griffiths. Griffiths says:  “We are […]

Newsletter

News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up

Comments

There are 6 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. “considerably higher female opt-out rates in auto-enrolment”

    If women are opting for a voluntary pay cut in considerably higher numbers than men, then how on earth can we expect the gender pay gap to ever be cut?

    Perhaps women, and only women, should be banned from opting out?

    “I have not heard of any company paying women more or men less to reduce the gender pay gap. If this is happening behind closed doors, I am sure Money Marketing would like to know, as it is positive and newsworthy.” No, as written it’s a violation of the Equality Act 2010. Newsworthy but certainly not positive. The political reasons for breaking the Equality Act are neither here nor there.

    Investment conferences are predominantly a waste of time and clients’ money. Ms North should be applauding women IFAs and fund managers for using their time more sensibly, instead of castigating them for not showing up.

  2. Well said Kim

    We have not evolved conferences anywhere near enough, we need far more interaction and less death by powerpoint

  3. What a fascinating insight Kim, thank you! However the past is exactly that……..the past, so new ways must be found to engage the fairer sex in all things financial.
    They may not currently be the larger earners but many do hold the purse strings so financial education is crucial.
    They are more likely to impart this information to their children too which should help educate the next generation as well.

  4. Robert Milligan 23rd April 2018 at 3:47 pm

    Bang Bang Bang, went the drum, Just look at the photo in the House of Commons last week when the Jewish MP was applauded by her peers, there were fourteen females in the picture, (One notable one sat Down) and only nine men, accept it, we are and will always not be the same.

  5. maybe because they (woman) are not as interested in advising as one might expect!

  6. Nicholas Pleasure 23rd April 2018 at 5:12 pm

    “But back to the lack of females at investment conferences. A conference talking about alpha investment gains in emerging markets with out of date statistics for three hours is not attractive to us.”

    It’s not interesting to us men either BTW; we’re only there because it is local and we need the CPD.

    My view, for what it’s worth, is not, “how do we get more women into financial advice?” but why on earth would a woman want to become a financial adviser. I won’t list our gripes here again but it’s not that attractive.

    I had a chat with one of my (female) solicitor contacts and she was saying how the regulation they are suffering makes her want to quit because it doesn’t work, takes ages, costs clients a fortune and prevents her from doing her job to the best of her ability.

    I’ll let you draw your own parallels.

Leave a comment