Men in the financial advisory industry need to start shouldering more of the work of correcting a gender imbalance, a move that could potentially serve to attract clients, according to David Griswold, president and founder of Vantage Point Financial.

There are currently many more men than women in the industry, but many male financial advisors tend to think women are taking care of addressing that issue, Griswold said last week at Commonwealth Financial Network’s 2021 Virtual Summit for Women Advisors.

“But of course, they [men] need to solve problems as well. There’s no way we can get [gender] equity unless the guys start to become more supportive and actually do things as well,” he said.

Female advisors currently represent only about 15% of FAs across channels, and their clients, too, continue to be largely men, according to Commonwealth senior investment research analyst Anu Gaggar, the moderator of the panel. However, meaningful assets are expected to shift from men to women in the next three to five years, presenting a big opportunity for FAs, Gaggar said.

“I think naturally women might start just being more attracted to female advisors, and I think that’s a huge opportunity for male advisors in the industry to have kind of a co-partner in that balance because there’s going to be someone that’s drawn to either of us and we see that with every couple where one of us has the closer relationship and we’re fine with that — whoever has the right fit,” said Ashley Ott, a partner at Vantage Point.

“Our clients love the fact that we are a gender-balanced team,” Griswold said.

Griswold started Vantage Point in 2002 after teaching at Simmons College, a women-focused college in Boston. He said he strives to take a “gender-balanced” financial advisory approach and actively develops diversity and mentorship programs at his firm. He said he has hired and trained more than a dozen interns from India, Pakistan, China, Thailand, Greece, Turkey, Iceland and the U.S.

Before joining Vantage Point in 2012, Ott said she experienced an “intimidating” workplace when entering the financial service industry. “I’ve been to many lunches and I’m the only female in the room. As a young female, I don’t have gray hair yet, so I’m even more of an anomaly,” she said.

Besides challenges in the workplace, Ott also laid out a list of factors that could make it harder for women advisors in the FA industry, including having kids and taking maternity leave mid-career. She suggested firms give more encouragement and provide more training and scholarship programs to women.

Because of the additional responsibilities some women have, the industry is losing potential FAs because of the current time pressures and deadlines to acquire certain numbers of clients or to obtain particular Series 7 passes, Griswold added.

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