Women accounted for nearly half (47 percent) of new clients gained by independent financial advisers (IFAs) over the past two years, according to research by Investec Wealth & Investment.
In 2012, women made up 40 percent of IFA clients, but more are now seeking financial advice due to increasing rates of divorce and the rise of female entrepreneurs. The research, conducted among 101 intermediaries in June 2017, found that 26 percent of advisers believe the increase in female clients is due to women taking more control of their financial circumstances.
Meanwhile, almost a fifth (19 percent) cited the growth of women succeeding in business as the reason for an increase in female clients. Over half (51 percent) attributed the rise to divorce, while 35 percent attributed it to the death of the spouse.
A trend among joint clients towards taking equal responsibility for managing the adviser relationship was identified in the research: in 2012, advisers estimated that 23 percent of joint clients involved both partners taking equal responsibility compared to 27 percent today. Advisers expect this to rise to 35 percent by 2022.
However, IFAs estimate that 11 percent of their advisers are currently female and 47 percent of firms have no female advisers, though give percent of firms said they were looking to encourage greater gender diversity among their advisers in order to attract a greater number of female staff.
Head of intermediary services at Investec Wealth & Investment, Mark Stevens, said the research shows that 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 Wealth & Investment is part of the Investec group, and offers wealth management and investment services to private individuals, charities, trusts, international clients and financial advisers. As at 31 March 2017, it has circa £32.5 billion of client funds under management.