Advisor | March 2022

Overcoming gender inequality has a social, economic, and financial value: companies with an equal number of men and women both overall and in top positions generate more profits.

What is the current situation of financial networks, private and universal banks in Italy?

FINER has interviewed over 2.000 female financial professionals as part of their annual monitoring that involves 7.500 people (3.510 financial advisors for FINER® CF Explorer, 1.790 private bankers for FINER® PB Explorer and 2.200 bank managers for FINER® BM Explorer).

The number of women changes depending on the professional position. Women are a minority among financial advisors (17%), while their number increases among private bankers (26%) to reach near equality among bank managers (48%).

The survey aimed at verifying whether banks and financial networks organize initiatives aimed at filling the gender gap (salary, flexible working hours, work-life balance, career prospects and professional growth within the company).

61% of female financial professionals working for universal banks confirm the presence of such initiatives. The percentage decreases to 52% among female private bankers and 36% among female financial advisors.

Moreover, it is essential to verify whether initiatives aimed at filling the gender gap are indeed effective and satisfactory for female professionals.

In this case, numbers are radically different and financial networks win over banks: 63% of female financial advisors claim to be fully satisfied with the initiatives organized by their network; numbers decrease to 37% and 35% for female financial professionals working for universal banks and as private bankers respectively.

Banks, be them universal or private, are more active in promoting initiatives aimed at overcoming gender disparities. However, initiatives organized by financial networks are more effective, if formally less present.

On the other hand, female financial advisors remain a minority respect to their male counterparts, but claim to be much more fulfilled on a professional level than their colleagues working in banks.

Networks of financial advisors feature more agile structures and less hierarchical levels. The activity of financial advisor is marked by strong entrepreneurial values, individual skills count more than organizational charts and, thus, in theory, meritocracy should prevail over disparity.

For this reason, it is all the more surprising that female financial advisors remain a minority. One might wonder which conditions would lead a female professional working in a bank to spread her wings leaving her steady job.

Among the conditions that may convince female bank employees to become financial advisors there are better economic conditions (74%), a higher level of autonomy (66%), investments in training (52%), more agile and innovative work tools and systems (41%).

Female financial professionals are characterized by a better ability to listen and to work in team, a lower level of performance anxiety and more loyalty to their company, all qualities that should contribute to increasing their presence also in managerial roles.

The way to go is still long, but there is maybe a light at the of the tunnel of disparities.

Nicola Ronchetti