A Teesside-based financial planner will be helping women across the region to improve the way they manage their investments and pensions after becoming a women’s ambassador for the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII).
Liza Pontone, of Active Chartered Financial Planners in Stockton, has a number of female clients, and has become very aware of the pension deficit between men and women, so applied to become a voluntary ambassador to help women in the Tees Valley who may be affected by it.
Liza said: “At present, according to the CII report Solving women’s pension deficit to improve retirement outcomes for all, the median pension wealth for married men is £53,000 but for married women it is just £10,000, which has huge consequences in the event of divorces or premature death of the male spouse.
“Women lose out because, statistically, they are the care givers, whether this is to children or elderly relatives. I felt so strongly about this, I wanted to do something to help the women being affected by the pension deficit this causes.”
The CII is a major professional body which oversees the insurance and financial planning profession.
Its Insuring Women’s Futures programme works with professionals in the sector to improve the financial security of women, and to address the risks to personal finance which predominantly affect them.
As part of Liza’s work as an ambassador, Active Chartered Financial Planners recently held an event at its offices to highlight the inequality in pension provision between men and women, and how workplaces can address this.
Liza said: “We had an excellent turnout for this event, with a lot of local businesswomen in attendance, many of whom commented that there was a lot they could implement to improve the financial stability of their female workers in the future. If even one woman is positively impacted by the knowledge we shared, it will have been worth it.
“I think the pension deficit is going to come into the spotlight more, as Which? has recently identified that women should get a pension boost of £2,000 when they take maternity leave the first time to make up for the time they take off.
“I agree with the watchdog that more needs to be done to financially compensate women for the unpaid work that often falls to them to do, and make sure they’re not in dire straits when it comes to retirement.
“I think the more we can educate both employers and employees about the inequalities that currently exist in pension provisions, the better it will be in the future.”