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MM leader: Is the next wave of clients young and female?

Natalie Holt Peach 250x255

Nothing divides a room quite like the differences between men and women. Throw discussions about money into the mix, and it makes for at best an awkward conversation, or at worst, an abundance of gender stereotypes and prejudices.

A body of evidence is building which suggests women are set to take over from men in the role of primary breadwinner. While it may not happen as quickly as some suggest (by 2028 according to one estimate), with more women going to university, setting up successful businesses, and in some cases commanding a bigger pay packet, there is a sense of the balance of earnings power starting to shift away from men.

This is not said to paint some kind of Amazonian, utopian vision of the future where women rule the world (or dystopian, depending on your point of view). Rather, it is about challenging the status quo of a male dominated advice profession used to dealing with male clients.

There is an acknowledgement that advisers need to look beyond their traditional client banks and find ways of engaging a younger set of would-be clients, potentially through online channels or discretionary solutions.

But if the next wave of clients is both younger and female, this is clearly a demographic advisers are not so au fait with.

Yes it is true that the pay gap between men and women still looms large. Yes board companies are still made up of more men and women. And yes, pure biology means women who have families will take time off work.

But just because women have not been the highest earners to date, this does not mean it could not possibly happen in future. And if it does, are advisers prepared for it?

For some firms, the advice process is what is it is, regardless of the gender of the client sat in front of them. That is all for the good. Yet it is also the case that female clients can react to issues such as risk, long-term planning and financial priorities differently to men. If more women start taking control of the purse strings, both in terms of earnings and financial decision-making, could this see more women enter the advice profession as a result?

None of this is meant to cause offence on what is undoubtedly a sensitive subject. Instead, the aim is to spark an interesting debate on the changing demographic of both clients and advisers.

Natalie Holt is editor of Money Marketing – follow her on Twitter here

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Comments

There are 2 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. E L Wisty (an only twin) 5th March 2015 at 11:05 am

    Very interesting and thought-provoking in a constructive manner. Indeed, I would be very surprised if anyone did take offence and, if they do …… well, it says more about them than Natalie.

    As we increasingly move into an equal society (in terms of both legislature and opportunity), Natalie’s predictions will almost certainly come true. In turn, I have no doubt that financial advisers will both anticipate and seize what will be a gradual shift over time.

    No doubt there are those around who would struggle with the change in the zeitgeist, and for very understandable reasons, as we are all slaves to our upbringing and habits of our time. However, financial services is shaking off the more disreputable elements of its past, in terms of sales and misogyny, and our future professionals will be more reflective and in keeping with the rise in younger, female clients.

    Sadly, I am unlikely to be around to embrace those clients ……

  2. Well, I’ve waited all day to see the level of hoped for debate on this one. With the notable and wistful exception above, it seems this interesting topic is possibly more interesting to other audiences than the core one here. Unless it’s just there’s a doubt how best to respond. (Or avoid treading on minefields? Nicely avoided by ELW).

    However, pleasing to note you get a mention in the Independent for this.

    And maybe the low comment rate so far is just that like me, it’s given folk pause for thought and requires more reflection than the well-trodden subjects where our opinions are ready to trot out in the matter of a moment. Let’s hope it’s that. Because there’s definitely opportunity here for any who work out how to grasp it.

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