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More women are needed in the IFA industry, says PIA

Too much testosterone in the workplace could be bad for IFA business.

A report by the PIA consumer panel says the financial services industry is dominated by men but the majority of enquiries are by women.

The survey shows that 80 per cent of advisers are male while 66 per cent of new client enquiries are by women.

The PIA says IFAs should look at whether recruiting more female employees would make financial sense. It beli eves female clients may prefer to deal with female advisers.

PIA spokesman Sarah Modlock says: "It is up to the members themselves on whether they should act to change the balance.

"We are not saying you get better or worse advice from men or women. But it brings to light a commercial consideration that IFAs might like to take account of."

PIA director and Holden Meehan partner Amanda Davidson believes a war of the sexes is necessary if investors are to get the service they demand.

She says: "There are far too few women in the industry. It is still a sexist environment and there is a glass ceiling for many women kept in place by a male chauvinist old school. We have certain clients who specifically want to be addressed by women because it makes them feel more comfortable. The industry is lagging behind consumer demand."

Davidson believes that the industry could boost its profile for female recruitment by targeting women for financial careers advice and training at university.

Fiona Price and Partners managing director Fiona Price ran The Financial Exchange, a group for women in the industry, between 1990 and 1996.

She says: "Financial services is very biased and there need to be more women as role models to give the industry greater balance. This would indirectly boost business."

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