(From the January 2022 Edition of eFORUM)
By Alex Kandelas
Women make up only 23% of financial advisors in Canada, according to Barron’s, and it’s a number that hasn’t really moved much in more than two decades. While many entrepreneurial channels of the industry have made it a priority to improve these low numbers, female representation hasn’t changed. Why?
Women make excellent financial planners and entrepreneurs who are active listeners, build solid relationships, and acquire great clients. The industry needs to offer a platform that addresses major roadblocks that prevent women from running their own books of business. For example, some women may not equate the entrepreneurial nature of an advisor with work-life balance. Having a false assumption about what it means to be an advisor is a very real issue that keeps some amazing women from entering our business. Some women may prefer to learn about managing a practice differently than the traditional training methods. Firms need to take the time to ask and understand what women want, and then adjust and/or redevelop training.
Mentorship is critical for any new financial advisor, but ask your new women hires for ideas on what may help them to succeed. For example, you might find that women with young children may benefit from a mentorship program that navigates not only business building techniques, but also the personal challenges of managing a practice and responsibilities outside of work. Although it may be difficult for organizations to administer such programs, it does not prevent these programs from running at individual branches or offices via branch managers.
Our industry definitely needs to elevate and shine a light on the successful women advisors who are currently leading a path for others, to demonstrate the industry has opportunity for women to succeed.
Through the interview process, firms need to clearly articulate how they can support common challenges among women entrepreneurs. Let’s help them see the experience they will have if they take the leap into this value-filled field.
Alex Kandelas, MBA, CFP, is regional director at IG Wealth Management in Toronto.