Why British women are less likely to seek investment advice than US, Canadian peers


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Women in the U.K. are less likely to reach out for help with their investments than their counterparts on the other side of the Atlantic, according to new research which points to a continued lack of provision in the U.K. advice market.

Just over two-fifths (41 percent) of British women say they would ask for financial advice from knowledgeable individuals compared to more than half of women in Canada (57 percent) and the U.S. (53 percent), a study by RBC Wealth Management has suggested.

While British women expressed an interest in being actively involved in their finances, the disparity of engagement with advisers highlights a shortcoming in the U.K., RBC Wealth Management’s head of private client told CNBC.

“Historically there has been insufficient focus in the sector on women,” Ann Marie Vibert said over the phone.

“Especially in banks there has been a large focus on the patriarch and women were somewhat ignored. As a result, women have had to take an active role in self-educating.”

The research, which compared the investment behaviors of more than 1,700 females with average investable assets of $4.4 million, found that almost two-thirds (64 percent) of British women would prefer to conduct their own research and read financial press, versus just over half (55 percent) of American and (52 percent) of Canadian women.

The truth about value investing

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“Women in the U.K. prefer to have a personal grasp on their investments and understand what they are getting themselves into, but there is definitely an element of lack of suitable advisory services for women,” Indre Butkeviciute, founder of British female-only wealth management firm Lily Advisory, told CNBC.

“Having launched a company with the focus on female clients I can see that they don’t feel well represented in terms of suitable advisory services as well as they feel to some degree dismissed as investors.”

The findings come as women are expected to take an increasingly active role in managing the world’s wealth. RBC’s study of women in the U.K., U.S. and Canada suggests that currently 84 percent of women have full or joint responsibility for overseeing family finances – a number which is set to grow as more women enter senior job positions and inherit wealth.

The research also found that women in the U.K. are the least confident in their children’s knowledge of finances. Just 39 percent of British women said they thought their children would succeed in managing family wealth, compared to 42 percent of Canadians and 48 percent of Americans. However, all said they were taking a role in guiding the next generation.

“Women are controlling so much wealth these days and inheriting and making much more wealth than before, so they are more conscience that they came in with little understanding and they don’t want their children to be in the same position,” noted Virbert.

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