18 October 2017
This week, independent financial advice firm, Independent Women, celebrates 20 years since opening its doors to offer dedicated advice for women.
It is the second milestone for the firm in 2017, highlighting its pedigree as the longest-running IFA for women in the UK. Earlier this year, the firm also became the first national IFA for women when it was acquired by national wealth management business, Succession Group, as its specialist women’s brand.
Both milestones come at a time when there is growing recognition within the industry of what women want from financial services. Last week, insight, information and consultancy group, Kantar, released its ‘Winning Over Women’ report, which highlighted that financial services brands are not only failing to engage with women, they are ignoring a £130bn market opportunity.
Established in 1997, Independent Women was established after founder and Managing Director Lesley Mackintosh noticed a significant gap in the financial services industry. A combination of client feedback along with Mackintosh’s own personal experiences as a woman in the industry inspired her to establish a firm focused on women-centric services.
Says Lesley Mackintosh: “20 years of experience and research show that what women want from financial services is a combination of female focused values: a friendly and respectful relationship and an uplifting experience from a planner with whom they can speak openly, without judgement, jargon, or hassle”.
“What we don’t want is to place more demands on women’s time or head space. We are here to listen, guide and mentor, and to have open dialogue. Women have their own money, and they want to be informed about how to manage it. That means questions and thinking time, and sometimes a few meetings before signing up for any change. It’s not just about reaching a desired portfolio figure; it’s about holistic advice and that’s a lifestyle”.
Independent Women prides itself on its understanding of the women’s market and, over time, has developed its own unique services away from wealth accrual – which it sees as being a requisite standard – and going to the core of the client’s personal story.
The basic advice might be the same as another’s, but the journey will be very different: personalised, empathetic and founded on mutual trust and respect.
The firm recognises that often, traumatic life events can be the triggers for many to seek financial advice for the first time and it has built a specialist service for those experiencing separation or divorce, a career break, provisioning for children or dependants, or coping with the loss of a life partner who may also have been the financial manager in the house.