Financial services firms could be missing out on billions of pounds worth of investment by not attracting enough women to invest, according to a new report by global data group Kantar.
The report titled ‘Winning over women’: A commercial imperative for financial services highlights how financial service providers are failing to meet the needs of their female customers. The research identifies a three main steps when it comes to financial services provision: everyday banking and insurance, longer term borrowing and finally investments/pensions.
The difference between men and women when it comes to everyday banking an insurance is as follows: more women mention family when talking about finance, including children, parents and spouses/partners and it is top of mind for them and they have less time and money for themselves; almost a quarter agree that they don’t have time to plan for their future, compared to double the number of men.
The differences between men and women when it comes to longer term borrowing is that women worry more about the financial challenges of home ownership and in relation to investments and pensions, there is very much a ‘gender pension gap’ between men and women.
According to Kantar “women can still uncomfortable with financial advisers, viewing them as ‘male, distant and lacking in empathy’.”
What can financial services firms do?
Financial services firms have already begun trying to communicate more with women by recruiting more women to the industry, encouraging diversity at all levels. In 2017, for instance, the government launched the ‘Women in Finance Charter’ which asks financial services firms to implement four key industry actions.
According to the Charter on the HM Treasury website it wants to: commit firms to supporting the progression of women into senior roles in the financial services sector by focusing on the executive pipeline and the mid-tier level; recognises the diversity of the sector and that firms will have different starting points; requires firms to publicly report on progress to deliver against these internal targets to support the transparency and accountability needed to drive change.
In early 2016, a group of leaders in the investment and savings profession decided to take action to accelerate progress towards an inclusive culture within the financial services industry, hence the ‘Diversity Project’ was born.
The Diversity Project aims to see equality of opportunity across the investment and savings industry and is working on a series of events across the UK designed to raise around £2m in two years, 2018 and 2019, to support charities who have been affected by the revelations following The President’s Club dinner.
Another off-shoot – Diverse City also aims to provide more resources for initiatives such as work experience and mentoring which can help boost diversity and inclusion in the profession.
Sabuhi Gard is an investment writer for Incisive Works
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