AFA/Tower launch Female Excellence in Advice Award to tackle the gender gap

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The Association of Financial Advisers (AFA), TOWER Australia and the Macquarie Graduate School of Management have joined forces to launch the AFA Female Excellence in Advice Award (the Award).

The Award, which will be officially launched in May, is an important first step in tackling the gender gap that exists in retirement savings, wealth protection and life insurance.

AFA CEO, Richard Klipin said that the whole gender equity debate is alive and well in the financial advisory profession and the industry needs to focus collectively to address the imbalance.

“What we need is greater female participation in the financial advice sector generally, and in particular, higher rates of participation at a leadership level,” he said.  “The Award seeks to actively encourage more women into the industry so they are better represented within the ranks of financial advisers and better able help women secure their financial future.”

Brett Clark, CEO Retail Life of TOWER Australia said that in bringing this award to life, TOWER Australia is seeking to encourage, mentor and reward female advisers who are exemplars within their field.  “The Award is recognition of outstanding achievement and leadership within the financial advice industry,” he said.

Mr Clark said that research suggests women are significantly underinsured and generally have inadequate retirement savings, yet they often have higher protection needs and can expect to live longer lives than their male counterparts

He cited a 2006 report quoted on the Australian Human Rights Commission website that indicated almost half of women between the ages of 45 and 59 have less than $8,000 in retirement savings.  “Our own statistics show us that although women make up 45% of the Australian workforce, only 12% of TOWER Australia income protection claims come from women,” he said. “These statistics have significant social and fiscal implications for us all.”

The Award will be rolled out around Australia in May, linking to the 100th International Women’s Day calendar and the United Nations ‘Equality Means Business’ agenda.

Lara Jacques, Policy Officer of United Nations Women Australia said the Award is a wonderful initiative.  “It has the buy-in of some very senior people within the sector and the key component is to encourage women into the industry.  We are really excited that the Award is being launched and about the opportunities it creates for women within the finance sector,” she said.

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