If you have ever considered hiring a financial adviser, you probably expected that your adviser would be a man.
You wouldn’t be wrong in your assumption — because the financial services industry severely lacks in female financial advisers and planners, a recent study has shown. While females represent 51% of the U.S. population and are more likely to graduate college than men, only 23% of all certified financial planners (CFP) are female.
According to the Motley Fool, women are generally turned away from becoming financial advisers because of barriers to entry into the profession they face.
The gender disparity in the financial services profession comes as a surprise, especially when one study by two University of California professors proved that women tend to be better investors than men and smarter with their finances overall. The study found that women display more self-control and focus when investing, setting their eye on the long-term benefits of an investment rather than jumping onto the latest investment trends.
Women would also make great financial advisers because of their natural tendency to be more empathetic and collaborative than men, the Motley Fool reported — and financial advising is a profession that requires empathy for clients.
So why aren’t there more female financial planners?
“The financial services industry has always been dominated by men, I believe in the past women were not encouraged to start at the big banks in a financial advisor capacity — but this is changing.” says Craig from Winship Wealth Partners. “I am starting to see more and more women at the financial planning conferences I attend, which is great.”
According to the Motley Fool, the CFP Board announced a new initiative to bring more women in to the financial planning sector last year. The CFP Board’s Women’s Initiative Advisory Panel was able to identify a number of hurdles that discouraged or prevented women from becoming CFPs. These obstacles included a lack of understanding about what financial planning is and what is needed to succeed; prevalent business models and compensation methods; gender bias and discrimination in the field; work-life balance concerns; and a lack of visible role models, networking opportunities and professional development programs.
Until steps are taken to eradicate the unfair challenges to women who want to enter the financial services field, change will likely be slow to take place — which is unfortunate for people seeking a financial adviser.