The lack of diversity in financial planning has been a longstanding issue, with the industry often failing to consider the unique needs of underrepresented groups. For women, this can result in exclusionary practices that don’t always reflect their realities.
As women earn more, start more businesses and control more wealth, female advisors offer a unique value proposition for female clients, said Christine Van Cauwenberghe, head of financial planning at IG Wealth Management in Winnipeg.
Women now make up more than one-quarter of Canada’s 1% of top earners, and by 2026, women will control nearly half of all financial wealth.
However, women can face different financial challenges due to pay gaps, career interruptions and longer life expectancy. Van Cauwenberghe said women often want advisors who demonstrate empathy and are willing to discuss the emotional aspects of money and investing.
She said female advisors can bring a more empathetic and collaborative approach to financial planning that can help clients feel more engaged and empowered in the process.
“It’s not about choosing sides, it’s about ensuring that everyone has a voice and feels comfortable,” said Van Cauwenberghe.
At the end of the day, she said it comes down to confidence, and it’s up to an advisor — regardless of their gender — to ensure all of their clients feel educated and financially confident.
Jennifer Lemieux, branch director, senior investment advisor and co-chair of RBC Dominion Securities Women’s Advisory Board in Kingston, Ont., said female advisors can provide a “transfer of confidence.”
As women take on more of the world’s wealth, Lemieux said they want their advisors to provide them with information and skills.
“Financial literacy right now has become a cornerstone of practices,” she said. “When it comes to finances, you have to be empowered and knowledgeable before you can transfer that confidence to the next generation.”
Lemieux said that applies to the unique needs and perspectives of all underrepresented groups.
“I tie it back to the importance of diversity throughout the industry and the importance to all of our clients to be able to see themselves in their advisors,” she said. “ It’s critically important that advisors represent the people in our communities.”