Women in the financial planning sector are being urged to start their own businesses, even if it means doing so at a very challenging time.
As it stands, about 24% of financial planners are women, which is up from about 20% three years ago. But when it comes to owning an advice practice… well let’s just say women remain significantly underrepresented compared to men.
Despite key challenges around trust in the wake of the Hayne Royal Commission, as well as a perception that finance is more suited to men, industry bodies are actively trying to encourage more women to become financial planners.
The thinking is that as the level of female wealth in the economy rises, thanks to increased career opportunities, workforce participation rates and greater inheritance due to women living longer, that they’ll be in need of financial advice in the future.
In light of this, I asked three successful businesswomen how planners can best combat today’s challenges and how women can make the move from adviser to practice owner.
Trust is a big issue in finance at the moment. The Deloitte Trust Index for banking, published in The Australian Financial Review on Monday, found only one in five Australians believe banks act ethically, and only one in four say banks keep their promises.
Scarlett Vespa, who is a branding expert and founder of Mrs V Society believes that trust is the new currency.
“You need to showcase your trustworthiness by delivering products or services that prove your value proposition and in a way that shows your relevance in today’s market.
“Being relevant today means you understand how technology will impact a customer’s business, your own business and how you are going to cater to that, making the customer feel secure and safe.
“Transparency, community and collaboration are the other key attributes that any business should have and a financial business is no exception.”
Dominique Bergel-Grant Financial Planner and Founder of Leapfrog LIFE recently moved her family to New Zealand and make the most of online conferences to connect with her Australian-based clients.
“I would like to see more financial advisers living by example. We talk so much about goal setting and living the life you want, but not enough planners realise that they could also be doing this thanks to making better use of technology.
“Financial planning is actually a really great career to have work-life balance.”
Ms Bergel-Grant identifies five things that will help women run successful advice businesses.
Julie Elliott, business growth strategist and founder of consultancy Just Julie, says that while disruption brings with it many challenges but also opportunities.
She’s listed ten questions that advisers could be asking themselves if they are in the early stages of starting a business.
Bianca Hartge-Hazelman writes on women’s money matters and is the founding author of the Financy Women’s Index.
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