Wealth management continues to be a boys club with over 85% of client-facing roles held by men.
The statistics, obtained from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) by Wealth Manager under the Freedom of Information act (FOI), showed that only 14.3% of CF1 and CF30 permission holders identified themselves as female.
The FOI also revealed the percentage of women holding CF30 permissions actually fell in the last two-years, from 17.9% to 13.9%.
Amy Clarke, co-founder of Tribe Impact Capital, commented: ‘In many ways, the industry itself is hurtling towards an unsustainable position.
‘There is a growing number of female wealth holders. If you look at the research, by 2030 in the United States 60% of private wealth is anticipated to be in female hands and yet we have a real paucity of female wealth advisers in the city.’
Shauna Bevan, head of investment advisory at RiverPeak Wealth added: ‘I think for any industry sector, the people serving the clients need to represent the diversity of the client base.’
The number of women in the investment industry pales in comparison to the legal profession, 47% of which is female. It is also lower than the 26% on FTSE 100 boards.
Bevan said: ‘When I was at Charles Stanley it was impossible to find women to apply to our graduate training program so that was an issue. It was just that women, for whatever reason, don’t perceive it as for them – so it’s hard to attract talent at the initial stages, I think law is better at doing that.’
Vicky Drysdale, a divisional director at Brewin Dolphin, is however, optimistic for the future.
She highlighted that a third of CF30 in her Glasgow office are women and this is set to grow as she has recently taken on two female graduates.
Bevan noted that wealth management’s natural conservatism also likely played a part, and added: ‘The idea that women would work is a fairly modern one and the industry has been slow.
‘It’s quite baffling because you would’ve thought that women would be, and in fact they are, just as good at talking to clients, managing portfolios and matching risk profiles.’
Clarke sees this as a problem too: ‘A lot of women look at the City and think that it is an ivory tower that is very difficult to get into. Quite a few, especially the younger women, see it as a bit of a boys club.’
She also considers the 13.9% figure indicative of a wider problem in the industry.
‘When you think about the issue we have in finance, if you think of it as a system, there is an imbalance between the male and female components in the system more generally.’