Women could fill advice gap

Women make up the majority of student members for the Financial Planning Association of Australia (FPA) and they will likely reshape the demographic of the industry that has been dominated by men. 

Marisa Broome, FPA chair and Wealth Advice principal, said about 20% of the people on the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s (ASIC’s) Financial Adviser Register (FAR) were women, , while the FPA membership base was only just over 30% women. 

“But encouragingly, 54.8% of our student members are women, so that’s a great sign about where the future is for our broader profession,” Broome said. 

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“I went to a conference last week and less than 5% of the attendees were women, I would have loved to have seen some more people that look like me in the audience and I’m keen to see this whole profession change.” 

Broome said it was mature age professionals coming through that were looking to change careers and had life experience. 

“What I think is unusual when I think about students is that I often think of them as straight out of school and being in their 20s just working out their career direction,” Broome said. 

“But quite unusually in our profession, a lot of the student membership we have are people that are career changing.” 

Broome said regardless of what age and background these students were, it was important to reach out to them to encourage to stay in the financial planning industry. 

“We know there’s an unmet advice need in the country – ASIC and the Government are concerned about it – we need more financial planners and women are great at doing this,” Broome said. 

“You can mentor someone, offer an internship or work experience, or help them through their professional year.” 

Women were also more likely than men to be studying to meet education requirements. 

“Currently 32% of our membership base who are women are studying to meet those qualifications [compared to 20% for men],” Broome said. 

Female advisers were also just as likely as their male counterparts to have a clearly articulated business growth plan for the next year, three years and five years. 

“54% of our female members are more optimistic about where their business is going… and that’s a significant difference for men as only about 47% are as confident,” Broome said. 

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