More women are seeking financial advice due to increasing rates of divorce and the rise of female entrepreneurs, according to a new study by Investec Wealth & Investment.
The research among intermediaries found that women accounted for only two-fifths (40 pct) of IFA clients in 2012, but that percentage has risen to 47 pct of new clients over the past two years.
Over a quarter (26 pct) of advisors surmised that one of the main drivers behind the increase in female clients is they are taking more control of their financial circumstances; a fifth (19 pct) also cited the growth of women succeeding in business. However, the data suggests the biggest factors are divorce (51 pct) and/or the death of a spouse (35 pct).
Mark Stevens, head of intermediary services at Investec Wealth & Investment, said: “The research suggests that women are getting more involved in their financial affairs. Women are of growing importance to IFAs and we can expect to see their client bases continue moving away from a male bias towards a balanced gender split.”
Investec said the research also highlighted a clear trend among joint clients towards taking equal responsibility for managing the advisor relationship; in 2012 advisors estimated that under a quarter (23 pct) of joint clients involved both partners taking equal responsibility compared to 27 pct today. By 2022 advisors forecast this could rise to 35 pct.
Stevens said, “It’s also encouraging to see that increasing numbers of couples are taking joint responsibility for managing the relationship with their advisor. Men have tended to take this role among older generations, but fortunately this is showing clear signs of change. It has to be in the clients’ best interests for both partners to be equally involved in this key relationship.”
However, and despite the increasing number of female clients, on average IFAs estimated that only 11 pct of their advisors are currently female, and almost half (47 pct) of firms have no female advisors; further, just 5 pct of firms said they are looking to encourage greater gender diversity among their advisors in order to attract a greater number of female staff.
Something Stevens said he hopes to see gather momentum as the industry evolves.