Karen Eley (left), Sarah Phillips, Peita Diamantidis, Anne-Marie Esler, Adele Martin and Julia Newbould

Women who joined the financial advice profession believe it is more than about giving advice with – some pursuing different business models that prioritise financial outcomes for women.

The Women in Financial Advice series, hosted by Professional Planner in partnership with BT, has focused on encouraging more women to become financial advisers to present a better cross-section of society to clients.

The third and final roundtable studied women who left the traditional advice model behind to become financial coaches so they can provide more women with the more basic advice they need.

Growth in these roles is part of the reason Money Mentor managing director and senior wealth adviser Adele Martin, Greenhouse Steps founder Jessica Brady, and Women Talking Finance founder Karen Eley are choosing to work more in the coaching space, according to the coaches represented on the roundtable.

Brady said women have been taught that money is taboo, and this impacts the number of women who end up wanting to study financial advice.

“I really passionately believe that we need to make that industry more diverse,” she said.

Brady added that the industry is seeing a rise in financial coaches but it is concerning that only some have come from a financial planning background.

“They know the difference between actual advice, general advice, personal advice, whereas people that have come from life coaching have never had any financial background,” she said.

Caboodle co-founder Peita Diamantidis wondered aloud if there is a volunteer program for money mentors.

“Imagine each school has a money mentor and they turn up a couple of times a year and they sessions and Year 11 [students] get to go and learn about [financial literacy],” she said.

Diamantidis acknowledged the lack of qualified financial advisers but said she would prefer to see 5000 more coaches rather than 5000 new advisers.

But Martin said that if the number of female advisers does not increase, women generally will be discouraged from seeking advice, with consequences beyond the financial. She added that “a lot” of domestic violence cases are the result of women lacking financial independence.

LGT Crestone Wealth Management national front office risk manager Melissa Richardson said financial literacy briefly appears in the school curriculum, but she would like to see it feature prominently, alongside maths and English.

“It’s so important that you get in young,” she said. “If you can’t navigate our financial institutions and our financial construct, you really are left behind.”