Financial Wellbeing and Women: Closing the advice gap

Following on from the launch of our 2020 Financial Wellbeing research: Closing the advice gap, we hosted a webinar made up of a panel of three speakers to discuss the research findings and how the industry as a whole can help.

Chartered Financial Planners, Georgina Fry and Kirsten Pettigrew were joined by guest speaker, Pam Jackson who is CEO of Level20; a not for profit organisation dedicated to improving gender diversity in the European private equity industry, and a long-standing client of Saunderson House. She was also a PwC partner for 29 years.

In case you missed the webinar, we’ve captured the highlights for you below. Alternatively, you can watch the recording of Financial Wellbeing and Women: Closing the advice gap here.


Diversity at Saunderson House


Kirsten kicked off the webinar by talking about what Saunderson House is doing to address gender diversity at the firm and set out our goals which we expect to meet by the end of 2023 (see chart).



Kirsten said: “although the firm is making good progress in this area, diversity is much broader than gender and this is a journey not just for Saunderson House, but for the whole of the advice industry so we still have some way to go.”


Ask the audience – part 1

To get some audience participation, we asked the audience a poll question to understand what their main concerns were with regards to financial wellbeing; a question that was asked in the research.


When it comes to your financial independence and financial wellbeing, which of the following are you most worried about?


The poll showed that the top three concerns were: deterioration in wellbeing in other walks of life and the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic (both 24%) and a slowdown in the global economy (20%). This was a stark difference to the results of the research which highlighted that losing my job or spouse losing their job was the biggest concern for individuals.


Financial Wellbeing Insights

Georgina talked us through the key research findings and engaged in a thought-provoking discussion with Pam, to understand her views on the insights from both an industry-wide perspective, in terms of how we can improve diversity, and being a consumer of financial advice herself, as a professional woman. The following research insights were covered:


Closing the importance / ability gap

Georgina highlighted that the importance / ability gap for women is much bigger than it is for men in relation to the top three priority areas: having wellbeing in other walks of life, feeling happy with my finances and having clarity and confidence over my future financial plans.



When asked what could be done to help close the gap, Pam reflected on her own experiences of taking advice and highlighted that “women tend to have to spin a lot more plates than men between work and family life. Finding a trustworthy adviser takes time and therefore isn’t always prioritised.”


How women think about financial planning


The discussion then moved on to how men and women think about their finances. The research uncovered that women tend to think about financial issues more holistically, rather than taking a more siloed approach, which is more typical of men. Georgina said: “this desire to take everything into account can often be quite overwhelming and may lead to a sense of paralysis for financial decision making.” Pam related to this through her own experiences, and concluded with: “financial independence is important, so it’s worth taking the steps and getting the advice at your earliest opportunity… and you can do this by speaking to someone you have built a trusted relationship with, someone who understands what you want and need”.


Investing responsibly

Responsible investing is an area that has become significant for both men and women; however, we found through the research that women tend to have more of an affinity with responsible investing in this way that men do.



When asked is this something that Pam is seeing in the private equity sector, she said: “there is a focus more generally on ESG for both genders, but the biggest movement and drive is coming from millennials and there is probably no difference between the genders in this age group.”


‘The Family Board’


Our research uncovered that women feel less comfortable about talking about money matters with family members that men do. Georgina said: “this could be because women are not traditionally the breadwinner and they tend to be more naturally discreet when it comes to talking about wealth”. Pam commented further: “After reflecting on this, I think that family discussions are important, and you do need to start these discussions early. We all have a duty to help our children and to help them understand how they can help themselves and to plan responsibly for the future”.


Ask the audience – part 2

In our second poll question, linked to the family discussions theme, we asked the audience at what age is it appropriate to involve the next generation in the family planning discussions.


What age do you think the next generation should be brought into the financial planning discussions?


The majority selected the ages 18-25 (43.5%), 30.4% selected 26-35, 21.7% selected 18 and under, and 4.3% selected 35 and over. Kirsten commented: “Saunderson House often see many 26-35-year olds when it comes to estate planning, but there are opportunities before this to establish children’s financial interests with regards to JISAs/ISAs”.


How well does your adviser understand you?


In our final theme, we looked at the question how well does your financial adviser understand your goals and aspirations. From the research, we found that men scored higher than women on this question, with men scoring 7.7 Vs. women scoring 6 (1 = not at all, 10 = completely). When asking Pam her views on the findings in relation to her experience of working with financial advisers now in comparison to when she first started seeking advice, she commented: “The best financial advisers are the ones that are willing to sit down to talk to you and have the conversation with you to start building a trusted relationship… recommendations are key to finding the right person”.


To conclude…

Kirsten closed off the webinar by providing some considerations for what women can do to make sure they remain on the same financial playing field, as well as some practical steps individuals can take (whatever your gender) to building a tax efficient portfolio. These included:


  • Maternity leave – is this an additional savings requirement?
  • Pension contributions – are there any gaps?
  • Do you need a larger pot? Statistically, women live longer than men…
  • Start early – avoid compounding any shortfalls as a result of any gender pay gaps
  • Align your financial priorities with any life goals to stay on track


Get in touch

Hopefully this webinar (Financial Wellbeing and Women: Closing the advice gap) and accompanying summary have been useful. If you have any questions at all or need help with your financial planning, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.


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