‘War for talent’ in advice industry

A “war for talent” will mean organisations need to prioritise culture to attract staff as the adviser industry shrinks in half by 2023, according to a panel.

Speaking at an Association of Financial Advisers (AFA) webinar, Angela Godfrey, director of Angela Godfrey and Associates Change Management, said in 2018 there was 27,000 advisers and with predictions of 13,000 by 2023 it would be a “war for talent”.

“It is going to be a war for talent so you must work at creating a really good culture because culture is king,” Godfrey said.

“It means you’re going to attract new talent and retain them and the other important thing is, it has to come from the top.”

Jasmine Tocock, Netwealth training and relationship manager and Inspire – Victoria co-chair, said more women had joined the industry but there had been a catch.

“I’m definitely seeing a trend of more support staff being females rather than males, particularly in just a couple of firms that I’ve worked in,” Tocock said.

“That’s not necessarily discriminating with males going up to be planners it just seems to be a trend since I’ve been in the industry.”

According to data from the AFA, women only made up 20% of financial planner roles.

Looking more broadly, women held 32.5% of key management positions, 28.1% of director roles, 18.3% of chief executive roles, and 14.6% of board chairs – this was despite being 50.5% of the overall private sector workforce, according to data from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA).

Apart from working inside in the industry, there was also the unconscious bias that planners could have towards clients.

“It’s not just the financial planning industry itself that seems to have this unconscious bias, it’s also towards the clients and how financial planning is selling to the clients,” Tocock said.

“In [statement of advice] SoA templates most assume the first client is a male and the second is a female and even going as far when doing insurance and selection occupations under female as homemaker.”

Godfrey quoted research by Adrienne Penta, executive director of the Brown Brothers Harriman Center for Women and Wealth, that found the sort of biases advisers could accidentally be prone too.

“She went and spoke to clients and found that when the adviser came out, they would talk to the man about their career and talk to the women about their family,” Godfrey said.

“I’m sure no offense was meant by this, but advisers were engaging in a manner that they think the clients want and respect but often those biases are faulty assumptions.”

Recommended for you




“In [statement of advice] SoA templates most assume the first client is a male and the second is a female and even going as far when doing insurance and selection occupations under female as homemaker.”

Reading this gave me an aneurysm

Agreed. Nowhere does any material say Client 1 has to be a male. In our business we simply use alphabetic order so if they share the same surname & Betty comes before Charlie, that's the order we put them in.

Likewise, if differing surnames, we'll use alphabetic order of the surname in preference. Also makes for better filing ability as well.

This speaker (who happens to be a woman) is archaic in her own dialogue & thinking. We're not dealing with the suffrage years here, 'love'.

Yes, there may be more males within the adviser space. However, we need to stop attempting to pursue a even distribution of females and males within a specific industry! Selection should be based upon individual merits, their willingness to actually participate in an industry as well as their ability to perform within a specific role (and industry). Females typically lean towards caring/nurturing industries (i.e. Nursing and Early Learning) simply due to biological differences. Stop with the wokeness by making a square peg fit into a round hole.

So interesting that you put women in a box of “caring/nurturing” and then define financial planning as existing outside that space.

What is financial planning if not the care for, and nurturing of, a client’s future wellbeing?

If women can make up a huge proportion of para planners, but mysteriously lack representation in the higher pay brackets then that’s not biology, it’s promotion bias, whether conscious or unconscious.

Add new comment