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The investment advice business is trying to hire more women, but it’s not going well.

Women account for just 23 per cent of advisers in Canada, according to a new white paper from a StrategyMarketing.ca, a consulting firm that works with advice and investing firms to better connect with women clients.

A lot of work is being done to recruit women to become advisers, but problems remain. According to StrategyMarketing.ca, women don’t see financial advice as a desirable job, they don’t see enough female role models and they find their strengths are dismissed by those doing the hiring at advice firms.

Prefer a female adviser over a man? StrategyMarketing.ca’s Paulette Filion suggests calling a few local advice offices and asking to speak to the branch manager, the industry term for boss.

“Let the branch manager know what you need (an educator or a specialist in estate planning, or whatever) and tell them you want a female adviser,” Ms. Filion said by e-mail. “That’s a good place to start.”

Call a few branch managers, compile a few names of female advisers, interview them and then make a choice, Ms. Filion suggested. Of course, you’ll want to apply the usual criteria in selecting an adviser – credentials, experience, services provided, fees and compatibility with your personal style and level of wealth.

Ms. Filion said a U.S. study has found that while an adviser’s gender isn’t a big deal for older women, millennial women strongly prefer working with a female. There are practical reasons for women to consider a female adviser. A U.S. study quoted in the StrategyMarketing.ca white paper found that women are 2.5 times more likely to say they are comfortable with investing risk when their adviser is a woman as opposed to a man.

Female advisers interviewed by StrategyMarketing.ca said the No. 1 reason for their success was an ability to connect with people and build relationships. However, they found that these skills were too often dismissed by managers who measured success in sales terms, specifically assets under management.

Help improve the gender balance in the advice industry by asking to work with a female adviser. Just because three of four advisers are men doesn’t mean you have to work with one.

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