The Commonwealth Bank's (CBA) Wealth Management Advice business will expand its 'Women and Financial Planning' program to educate all 600 employed financial planners on ways to build stronger relationships with female customers.
In an announcement yesterday, the CBA said that as part of the program, more than 110 financial planners from licensees Financial Wisdom and Count Financial have already completed the training, but all employed planners would receive training by the end of 2016.
The Women and Financial Planning initiative aims to create better understanding of women's unique financial needs by teaching planners about demographic, lifestyle and behavioural differences between male and female customers.
CBA executive general manager wealth management advice, Marianne Perkovic said: "As one of Australia's largest financial services providers, CBA is well placed to demonstrate the value of financial advice for women — and help ensure our planners offer women the support and guidance they need to achieve their financial goals.
"Not only does financial advice help to improve financial security, it also increases confidence and financial literacy and encourages women to take more control over their money, which in turn helps combat gender inequity more broadly."
Ms Perkovic said that as part of the initiative the bank would also work to encourage women to enter the financial advice professions.
"As an extension to the Women and Financial Planning initiative, we are also working to highlight the benefits of financial planning as a career path for women — with support and guidance available for women who are looking to enter the profession," she said.
The Commonwealth Bank's Retire Ready Index, released in August 2015, found that many women are significantly less prepared for retirement then men. Single women have 47 per cent of what they need for a comfortable retirement (according to the ASFA Standard and including the Age Pension), compared with 78 per cent for single men and 98 per cent for couples.
This is supported by recent research by Colonial First State Global Asset Management, which found some women (aged 35-49 who are non-advised) have a lesser propensity than men to invest in growth assets such as equities. This differential has been maintained even as equity markets and general investor sentiment recovered after the global financial crisis.
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