This is not really a club, but it is something CDMB values and would like to recognise. Working as we have with many female advisers, for a long time, it becomes clear that their approach, often quite different to their male counterparts, can be incredibly successful. The empathy and altered perspective they come with is very welcome to many people seeking an adviser. It is also noticeable how in the main, female advisers have adapted to lockdown methods of doing business, much more readily than most of their male counterparts. So, our “Ladies Who Lend” is simply recognition that within CDMB we have highly skilled mortgage and protection advisers, who happen to be women. It seems important to acknowledge them.
It is also true that many people seeking advice might prefer to deal with a woman or simply feel more comfortable talking to someone of their own sex but did not know they could. If you look across to the “Contact & About Us” menu item on this site and scroll down to “Find an Adviser”, you will find all our “Ladies Who Lend”. Feel free to ask for one of them if you are completing a call to action or simply phoning in. They will be pleased to help.
As advisers we work in a highly regulated environment and we all, female or male, have to follow a prescribed process for collecting information that will ultimately confirm we have advised you appropriately, accurately and fairly. How we do that varies and so it seems appropriate at this stage to provide you with views from the ladies themselves in terms of how they do things differently and some of the valuable points they make.
- The first point made by one of our accomplished lady advisers is that financial services has traditionally been a very male orientated business but it is important to know that more and more women do very well too and if someone is more comfortable speaking with a woman, it is accessible in CDMB.
- To emphasise this, a recent survey noted that there are 593,000 self-employed mothers in the UK, so it is hardly surprising there is a growing demand for same sex advisers. Earlier research by the Halifax has reported that the greatest sector increase in the past 20 years has been in the number of single women taking out a mortgage. That survey was 17 years ago so we do not imagine the sector has declined. Couple that with one in four partnered or married women making all the financial decisions in a household and only 7% of women saying their men take control of financial decisions. This being the case it is not surprising they will also decide who they choose to advise them, with one in ten women preferring to speak to a female adviser. Increase the number of female advisers and expect that figure to rise.
- The same adviser commented on completing a factfind, which we must always do to make sure we ‘know our client’ so we can provide the best advice. It is personal and intrusive, however, women can ask the questions that must be answered, often quite plainly and yet not seem as if they are being overly inquisitorial.
- Another lady adviser commented that some of her clients have said they were previously uncomfortable with the “suited and booted” male approach and felt ladies take a different line, coming across as less driven by the outcome and more by the process. In this example the lady advisor makes a point of telling her clients that she will hold their hand through the process.
- To quote her directly, “From a lady’s perspective, I feel we have a more caring nature to the house buying process. I will ask them to send me links to the house, and we will chat about it. I might have found out that they have pets and may comment on the garden being nice for the dog/cat etc. Talk about schools nearby and maybe secondary schools that are in the catchment area.” Remembering when I advised regularly this was typically not something I did; it did not sound like it should be part of a fact driven advice process. A good example of gender difference regarding how to deal with a client.
- She also commented that she has a general conversation with her clients, which she knows is fact finding, but they feel she is taking the time to know them and their family. Process and perception, quite different, but the result is the same, “know your client”, a regulatory best advice rule, satisfied.
- This was echoed by another of our advisers whose view is women offer a softer approach to what is often perceived as a fact driven business. Able to offer empathy and form better connections where trust is a key requirement of the adviser role.
- Another sensitive area is the matter of divorce and a female confidant is often perceived as helpful, friendly, a port in a storm, where knowledgeable experienced advice is valuable and reassuring, especially when coming from a fellow female. For example, maintenance payments, when can they be used for affordability assessment when trying to establish a new home. Not something everyone knows, but we do. To highlight this, point a direct quote from one of our ladies seems to hit the spot.
“I have had women who have said they preferred to speak to me as a female advisor as they have found my approach to be nurturing and I was able to easily identify with their experiences. As a woman in general, I appreciate not all women are mums, wives etc.
The female experience is a vast and wide one.
I have also done a re-mortgage for a lady who had a truly terrible divorce and she said she simply could not have faced having a male advisor at that time.
I had a similar experience when trying to source critical illness cover for a female client who had suffered with fibroids and a thyroid condition which are basically women’s health issues. We were able to have a good open conversation about that.”
- Two other ladies, who are also working mothers themselves, with young children, relate especially well to women in the same situation. Partnered or single mothers, juggling jobs and looking after children and husbands (big children!). Dealing with self-employed ladies, working a household around a job, late hours, catching up, all familiar to our lady advisers, common ground offering an encouraging empathy, an important part of any advisers’ job.
- A good point made a couple of times was lady’s use of social media to exchange information and gain insights and knowledge. It seems female advisers do share a lot of information quite freely on social media and it is noted and valued. They also make the point that social media is a good place to find new clients, because it is so time efficient to do so. Increasingly there are ladies only forums, where no doubt a common bond can be formed. I have a feeling our ladies may well look to setup a social media forum for their clients and prospective clients where questions can be freely answered. Please note we did not say a lady only forum as it is very apparent that many males prefer being advised by lady advisers as well.
- Interestingly nearly all the ladies commented that the idea of a “Ladies Who Lend” forum appealed as they would have a good mechanism for the exchange of ideas amongst themselves to the mutual benefit of one another, their respective businesses and their clients. Which is not always so easy when we cover the whole country.
Thank you for reading, our “Ladies Who Lend” are here to help you if you wish.