Women in Advice

Inspiring the Next Generation of Financial Advisers

Download the report here

Women in Advice

Inspiring the Next Generation of Financial Advisers

By IN Research and State Street Global Advisors — December 20, 2017

The following is an excerpt from the report, “Women in Advice: Inspiring the Next Generation of Financial Advisers”

Women currently represent a distinct minority among the ranks of financial advisers despite the profession being one that many view as especially well-suited to them. Moreover, the presence of women dwindles the higher one looks along the career path to firm leadership.

Yet the time is right for change. The financial advice business is being disrupted by external forces that include new technology, increasing regulation and greater client demand for relationship-based services. These challenges present a clear opportunity for greater inclusion of women. Add the demographic reality that the population of advisers is aging and shrinking, and it is imperative that the financial advice business attract more women advisers to rejuvenate itself.

Correcting the gender imbalance is critical for several reasons:
  1. Without it, the industry is denied access to the full pool of available talent.
  2. Decision-making is enhanced when a full range of views and experiences are included.
  3. While not all women clients prefer a woman adviser, the scarcity of women advisers is a significant stumbling block to those women — and men — who do.
  4. The looming shortage of advisers and the changing face of the industry's potential clients demand that the industry expand its pool of advisers and potential leaders to meet changing client needs.

While the industry recognizes that advisers must be drawn from a larger, more diverse pool, thus far it has done little to hold itself accountable for change. Some firms have set gender targets, which are useful, but those alone do not get to the heart of the problem. To effect change and address the lack of diversity, male and female leaders will have to acknowledge and address the problem of gender bias, the leaky pipeline for women's career advancement, and the need to attract more women to the profession.

Taking Stock: In the Company of Women
FEMALE FINANCIAL ADVISERS
Despite modest progress, women remain underrepresented in the talent pipeline, constituting less than 16% of the total financial adviser population1
FEMALE CLIENT-FACING PROFESSIONALS
The percentage of women in client-facing professional roles in the independent channel2
FEMALE CFPs
The percentage of women among Certified Financial Planner designees — a percentage that has remained flat for more than a decade3
1 Cerulli Associates, “U.S. Advisors Edge: Womens Advisors Issues (2017 - Q1)” (January 2017).
2 InvestmentNews Research, “InvestmentNews 2017 Adviser Compensation and Staffing Study” (September 2017).
3 Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, “CFP Professional Demographics” (September 2017).

The goal of this report is to go beyond confirming what we already know. Uncovering obstacles is not enough; all industry participants — and especially its leaders — must disrupt the status quo and take action. Each member of the financial advice industry has the potential to help implement sustainable change and facilitate inclusivity. After years of talk, advisers and firm leaders, male and female alike, must take concerted, proactive steps to advance the standing of women in the profession.

Download the report here Web production by Ellie Zhu
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