According to the AFA there are too few female financial advisers and their aim is to rectify the situation.
The AFA suggested that the first step in restoring the balance was to actually recognise that there wasn’t enough women working in the financial services industry, particularly in financial planning. The second was to find the best way to increase women numbers.
Suzanne Mercier Liberate Leadership chief executive has said at a masterclass at the AFA conference to women advisers, that, “it is all about women’s mindset in their working environment. Despite unconscious gender bias or social conditioning, it is often women themselves who undermine their own confidence. Excessive self-awareness can prevent women from recognising opportunities and even from stepping up into leadership positions.”
Deborah Kent the AFA Inspire inaugural chair said that there was a danger that “women themselves sabotage their role”, suggesting that “sometimes women think they need to look a certain way or behave a certain way, but we need to be who we are, we need to be authentic.”
Kent also highlighted research indicating that men will step into a role even if they don’t know how to do half of it, but in the same circumstances women won’t, and noted that women can be found across the financial planning space, but often only in supporting roles. Kent said that, “the next step was encouraging women paraplanners to become advisers and women advisers to become the owners of their own business. We should not forget that women make excellent advisers. Clients such as single women or older women find it easier to open up to a women adviser because they feel she’s someone that they can trust.”
Kent is hopeful that the AFA Inspire initiative will encourage more women to enter the financial planning profession as the program offers support for career development through networking, coaching, mentoring and leadership.