With over a decade’s experience in the finance industry, Wanita Isaacs, Head of Key Accounts at Momentum Distribution Services, unpacks the case for more women financial advisers in South Africa.
In many households, women increasingly take the reins in steering the course of their families’ financial destinies.
According to the Stats SA General Household Survey, nearly four out of every 10 South African households (37.9%) are financially led by women. This shift not only highlights the evolving dynamics of family structures, but also underscores the need for more tailored financial advice for women.
As women’s roles in society transform, so must the financial advisory landscape to ensure relevant and comprehensive guidance that aligns with their unique circumstances.
The financial planning needs of women differ substantially from those of their male counterparts. A confluence of factors, including the persistent gender pay gap and longer life expectancies, makes women’s financial situations more intricate and nuanced.
Stats SA found that in 2018, women’s average monthly earnings stood at a mere 76% of men’s average monthly earnings, reflecting an alarming disparity that continues to influence their financial outlook.
In addition, behavioural finance tells us that women tend to make financial decisions very differently from men, tending to prefer to take fewer risks.
As we navigate the intricacies of women’s financial planning, the significance of having women financial advisers cannot be overstated. These professionals bring a distinct perspective to the table, one borne from shared experiences and a nuanced understanding of women’s challenges.
They are not just practitioners of numbers, but confidantes who grasp the intricacies of balancing career aspirations, family obligations and long-term financial goals.
A critical facet of this discussion is the gender gap in financial coverage. Despite comprising 51% of the total population, women’s representation in the employed workforce remains at 44.3%, often concentrated at lower organisational levels. This glaring imbalance perpetuates financial disparity, as women might not receive the same level of financial literacy, investment opportunities and retirement planning as their male counterparts.
This is where the potential of having more women financial advisers comes to the forefront.
Imagine a scenario where a woman seeking financial advice meets a female financial adviser who not only understands the numbers, but comprehends the intricacies of her journey. The advice offered resonates deeply, addressing concerns unique to women. This personalised approach has the potential to bridge the gender gap in financial cover, providing women with more relevant, empowering and applicable financial guidance.
However, while the idea of fostering more female financial advisers holds immense promise, it’s essential to acknowledge that gender alone is not the sole determinant of effective financial advice. Competence, experience and a comprehensive understanding of financial markets and strategies remain paramount. A diverse financial advisory landscape comprising professionals of various backgrounds and expertise ensures a holistic approach that can address the complex financial needs of all individuals.
The rise of women in leadership in South Africa demands a fresh perspective on financial advisory services. The presence of more female financial advisers offers a unique opportunity to provide nuanced, relevant and empowering financial advice that can contribute to bridging the gender gap in financial coverage. While gender diversity within the financial advisory sector is critical, it must be complemented by expertise and a commitment to fostering a truly inclusive financial ecosystem. By embracing this multifaceted approach, we can pave the way for a more equitable and empowered financial future for women across South Africa.