"We launched in response to personal and anecdotal evidence that the financial services industry was regarded with suspicion by the LGBTQ community"
We spoke to Dawn Gale, managing director of Attitude Financial Services, about the advice firm's launch and why people from the LGBTQ community are more likely to hold-back from seeking financial advice.
FR: Attitude Financial Services recently launched to the market – tell us a bit about your proposition.
We do what all professional, good quality advisers do - we work in partnership with our clients, taking the time to understand their requirements, providing a prompt, efficient and personal service coupled with a creative approach to financial planning.
We launched in response to personal and anecdotal evidence that the financial services industry was regarded with suspicion by the LGBTQ community, partly due to perception but also to specific past experiences. We want to say things are different and you can trust us to advise you based solely on our understanding of your needs.
FR: What barriers to financial advice do the LGBTQ community still face?
Legally there are no barriers to financial advice. All clients should have access to the same services and the same products to cater to their individual needs. However, evidence points to the contrary, with people from the LGBTQ community is more likely to hold-back from seeking financial advice, fearing stigma or judgement.
The relationship between an adviser and their client is a highly personal one and requires trust and understanding. In our experience we find that a customer wants to be advised by someone they can relate to or be understood by. If, as a middle aged person, I want a middle aged adviser it’s easy for me to find one. But for a member of the LGBTQ community it can be a tiring search to find someone who understands them. They want to know that their adviser will provide good quality advice and not disapprove of who they are or judge their lifestyle.
FR: What can providers and advisers do to ensure inclusivity and understanding amongst minority groups?
There is a perception (not totally unjustified) that all advisers are male, pale and stale. As an industry we have to change that.
Part of this is through creating more positive publicity about what we do as an industry. There are plenty of reports about people being scammed and losing all their money that reflect negatively on the industry. But unfortunately you rarely hear about seriously ill people who don’t have to worry about the bills due to the plans put in place by their financial adviser, or the bereaved partners who can stay in their home, or indeed the people who are able to maintain their lifestyle after retirement thanks in great part to the expertise and advice of their financial adviser. We need to get better at shouting louder about these positive stories.
FR: What are your goals and expansion plans over the next 12 months?
This is a business that we want to grow in a profitable and sustainable manner, putting our clients at the heart of everything we do. It’s important that all clients wherever they are based get a positive and personal experience of our services and support so we will manage our growth to ensure that happens.
FR: If you could see one headline about financial services in 2019, what would it be?
'Everyone can get the financial advice and guidance they need to protect their way of life and their family and to plan for a happy and fulfilled retirement'.