The first Women in Advice roundtable on 17 August.

An ongoing shortage of financial advisers is highlighting the long-standing gender imbalance within the advice sector, where the ratio of women to men has remained unchanged for more than a decade despite repeated calls for greater diversity.

The first of three roundtables hosted by Professional Planner and The Stella Network, sponsored by BT Financial Group, heard that women are well-suited to working in the flexible and people focused advice industry.

But the discussion revealed that issues still exist – such as the industry being dominated by men, women lacking confidence, and low awareness of employment opportunities – which is putting women off becoming advisers.

Recruit 2 Advice principal Duguld Braithwaite said when he recently asked a female colleague her view of the financial advice industry, her reply was: “stuffy white men in suits.”

When Siboney Corrales-Palacio was promoted to a financial adviser role at Adviser fp, she had a couple of young female support staff.

“When I talked to them about careers in financial advising, [they would respond with] a firm no,” she said.

“When I asked why, they said, ‘Well, it’s all men’. They don’t feel comfortable, which is understandable. But we need to have more strong women in the industry and engage with more young women to consider a career in financial advising.”

We need to have more strong women in the industry and engage with more young women to consider a career in financial advising.

Siboney Corrales-Palacio & Anne Maguire

Minchin Moore Private Wealth Advisers associate partner and senior adviser Jane Hopkins said she works with “some great males” at the firm.

“But I genuinely think I need the perspective of a female who challenges things from a female perspective, because some men just don’t get it,” she said.