We need more female financial planners to give us more diversity in financial planning. There are so many men in the industry, but I think it’s important that our business reflects the general population and our clients.
I’ve found that both men and women alike also prefer to work with a diverse group of advisors. Diversity gives them fresh perspectives on how to plan their finances.
While it’s true that everyone has their own way of working, women have ways of building relationships with clients that can differ from their male peers. Often a woman will prompt and probe – we’ll ask tough questions but have different interactions and discussions with our clients. It’s important to harness these subtle difference when working with our broad client base.
My clients, both men and women, appreciate having the option of working with a woman. Some people prefer or are more comfortable building a relationship with someone of the same gender – and some people, including males, like to work with females. Speaking personally, I think some of my male clients like to work with me because it means their wife might connect more readily with me. While some of my female clients don’t think there are enough women in finance. So if they find a woman they can relate to, they want to work with her.
As a senior woman in this industry, I also think it’s important for me to play a role in helping other women coming up the ranks.
It is tough being a woman in a traditionally male-dominated field. You do have to be strong, while staying true to yourself and your values – that’s my experience. I have noticed that women may need that extra boost of confidence to make it to the next level. I had to believe in myself to do this – a lot of women don’t feel ready for that next step.
My advice to women considering entering the financial planning industry is to find a mentor. Find yourself an employer with a good culture – somewhere like Viridian. It’s important to join a business that will nurture your career and allow you to be yourself and to shine brightly as you are.
While the industry is still quite male-dominated, there are more women coming through and this in turn is changing the culture. I know Viridian is looking to expand our staff to include talented female financial advisors – it’s a part of the way we think now. Viridian recognises that we need a diverse mix of people to build good teams.
I’m excited that our business and our industry is moving forward and reflecting our clients and our culture. It makes our business offering richer and stronger, and as our profession continues to grow, I hope it will attract more female financial planners.
Virginnia Hottes is an Executive Advisor at Viridian Advisory
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