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Advisers could do better by women: AMP

Financial advisers could do more to boost the confidence of women accessing their services, AMP Financial Services general manager of advice and sales Therese Singleton says.

Monday, November 13th 2017, 6:00AM

by Susan Edmunds

Spurred by US research that showed women thought financial services was the industry least sympathetic and understanding of women clients, she and her team surveyed 700 New Zealand women to determine how many were getting advice, and their perceptions of that.

She said, in contrast to the US results, the AMP team was pleased to see most New Zealand women were relatively happy with the service they got from financial services providers.

But only a little over half the women were confident about their financial decisions. There were some specific issues that related to women understanding and accessing financial products and advice.

The research showed while many women would like advice on their retirement plans, investing and managing debt, only half of those same women had taken such advice. Younger women were more interested and yet less likely to have sought advice.

The main barriers was the perception that they did not have enough money to invest, it would be too expensive or that a financial adviser would try to sell them products they did not need.

But most women who had sought financial advice were satisfied with their adviser and two-thirds felt the advice they received was beneficial and helped them feel more confident about managing their finances.

Singleton said one in five of the women wanted products and services specifically designed for women.  

"There's a need for products to cater for them and more tailored advice around their circumstances - if I'm paid 20% less than my partner and contribute less overall [to KiwiSaver or other investments] what can I do to bump that up over time? If I have time out of work, what does that mean?"

She said she had expected the research to show that women were more likely to want advice from female advisers, but that was not the case.

They wanted to be treated equally and receive the same value that men would get from an interaction or service, but they were happy to take advice from good advisers, whether they were men or women.

“I still feel there is a big gap in the demographics of current financial advisers,” Singleton said. “There are 420 AFAs that are women. Over half of them are in the younger age group. That newer cohort will help.”

Other suggestions from the research on how the industry could do better for women included offering free advice, improving the industry’s understanding of women by asking them – don’t patronise, and having more transparency on fees.

Tags: AFA AMP financial advisers

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