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[The Wrap] Financial advice: mainly male drinkers ... really?

So apparently the advice industry is a male dominated, boozy culture; what rubbish.

Saturday, January 25th 2020, 6:07AM 2 Comments

by Philip Macalister

You do have to feel for some academics. It seems they need to get out a little bit more rather than sit in their ivory towers dreaming stuff up.

The latest piece of "research" says that women don't become financial advisers as it is a male-dominated industry and has a boozy culture. I've been around financial advice since the 1990s and spend a heck of a lot of my time out at industry events.

Sure there is often alcohol but to think that these events are full of beer-swilling blokes is far from the truth or reality. They are pretty ordinary kiwi social events.

As financial advice has matured and moved more towards a profession, it has become far more responsible around its social functions. It certainly seems a far safer place for women than other professions like law. You don't have to cast your mind too far back to recall allegations of a boozy culture and sexual misconduct at Russell McVeagh. They ended up calling public service troubleshooter Dame Margaret Bazley to investigate the claims.

My observation is that an increasing number of women are joining the financial advice profession, particularly in the insurance and mortgage specialities (which some would argue have a "more social" culture than investments).

I think women are well suited to financial advice, especially with the way it is evolving. Women are very good around networking and there are many women-based groups in the industry including the likes of Women In Super.

The "researchers" claim there is a dominant masculine management culture. Let's think about this for a moment. Three of the big four Australian-owned banks have women in chief executive roles.

Women certainly have a good number of leadership roles in life insurance (think Cigna, Partners Life, Fidelity Life). Financial Advice New Zealand has women in the chair and chief executive roles. 

There are places though where there are few women in leadership roles. One of those is KiwiSaver. We copped a far bit of flak last year when the ASSET Magazine Round Table was an all-male event. The reality being there is a lack of gender diversity in leadership roles in this area; as well as a lack of Māori and Pacifika people. Considering the make up of KiwiSaver membership this is an issue for the industry.

 

Tags: KiwiSaver The Wrap women

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Comments from our readers

On 27 January 2020 at 9:29 am Elephant1 said:
Phillip,
I totally agree with you, over the last few years the profession has moved on considerably. Locally AIA'S Xmas party involved walking around the park.
On 28 January 2020 at 10:26 am Pragmatic said:
I have deliberately chosen to 'pause and reflect' before reacting to this announcement and your article, as the underlying tone is a sad reflection of how the NZ wealth management industry continues to operate.

Over the past decades (yep - decades) the industry has been served with numerous scare-mongering or 'false news' to help promote the architect at the expense of the industry. This has lead the consumer to believe that we operate in an environment of "male-dominated-beer-swilling-scoundrels who's only purpose in life is to convert investor's assets into their income". This could not be further from the truth - with the majority of the NZ financial services industry attracting a wide range of professionals, who are fully committed towards serving consumers for the mutual benefit of all.

I am still shocked to see evidence of this self-promotion at all costs, with recent interpretations of regulatory turmoil a sad attempt to bolster their own business.

Perhaps the academics and noise-makers could sit amongst the industry before putting their judgments to print, with the scandalmongers getting back to building their business rather than dispensing inaccurate information under the heading of news. The industry body(s) could also step up and start defending the industry whom they represent, by sharing good news stories and publicly reacting to the inaccuracies served up by struggling academics.

To finish on a brighter note: It's great to see the FMA and other industry bodies out on the street in recent times, so that the industry is able to get a first-hand understanding of their intentions.

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