#IWD2021 Hear female voices in Wealth Management

International women’s day. 8th march. #ChooseToChallenge. Horizontal poster with different skin color women’s hand up. Vector illustration in flat style for greeting card, postcard, web, banner.

To celebrate international women’s day Wealth DFM Magazine has asked for female voices from across the Wealth Management industry, and for them to share their insights on the ever growing role of women in wealth management.

Annabel Bosman, Managing Director and Head of Relationship Management at RBC Wealth Management International, started her comments by saying, “The economic rise of women is perhaps one of the most significant shifts of recent times, with five decades of increasing female participation in the workforce. Women are starting and running new businesses at a rapid rate and as a result, generating and managing an increasing amount of wealth.”

Bosman stressed the importance of female networks that create a cycle of professional and social progress, “with our female clients, we have found that they want more openness with their relationship manager, and to have an equal partnership with mutual benefit and learning.”

Elaborating, Bosman, added, “A great example of this is the WealthiHer network, which was founded on International Women’s Day in 2019. Fifteen financial institutions, including RBC, have come together to celebrate, inspire and help empower women to protect and grow their own financial futures.

Bosman concluded, “Strong female networks such as this have made positive differences in my career and is something I am dedicated to being a part of for the next generation of women in wealth.”

Talking on the role of female fund managers, Adrian Lowcock, Head of Personal Investing at Willis Owen, an investment platform in the UK, noted that over the last decade, female fund managers have outperformed men.

There are only 33 funds managed or co-managed by women in the IA UK All companies sector – making up just 14%. Lowcock added, “Over the last decade, for that sector alone, funds managed or co-managed by women over that timeframe returned 98%, versus a sector average of 87%.”

Lowcock concluded, “Often the best investment opportunities in fund management come from having teams with different perspectives, with gender being one such important factor, as the results above show. Things need to change at asset management firms to address this unacceptable state of affairs.”

Ana Quirós, director of employee relations, culture and development at CaixaBank noted that her country, Spain, is a leader in terms of female representation in fund management. In CaixaBank 41.6% of managerial positions are held by women, and 42.8% of the Board of Directors are female.

Still Quirós says, “the speed of change is still very slow.” She continued, “Women in this field must be made visible, highlighting their work and careers, so that other women can also be recognised and these percentages can continue to grow, helping to combat unconscious biases and gender stereotypes that still exist both in this sector and in others, such as STEM careers.”

Lynn Bishop, Managing Director and Chief Information Officer, DTCC also highlighted female representation in STEM, saying it was critical to encourage young women and girls to study in the field.  Bishop also echoed Bosman’s sentiment about female networks, to help women reach their full potential.

Bishop added, “These efforts can include delivering career development opportunities and cultivating an environment where women have broad support across an organisation, enabling them to build a network of sounding boards and sponsors.”

Alex Foster, Director of Insurance, Wealth Management and Financial Services at BT, raised the importance on inviting men into the conversation, “not just on IWD but every day.” Pointing to the male makeup of senior positions within fintech, Foster said, “they must be part of the solution and without their active engagement, we cannot drive the necessary change.”

Foster highlights the latest Women in Work Survey from PWC, which found that there could be a £48 billion annual boost to the UK economy from increasing the proportion of women in work.

Foster added, “From a business perspective, it is imperative that the issue of diversity and inclusion goes beyond just being viewed as a HR or compliance issue, and is at the top of every fintech leader’s priority list. This is particularly true of encouraging greater female representation.”

Gail McCourt, Head of Private Client Fiduciary Services at RBC Wealth Management International, highlighted this years theme for international women’s day, “Choose to Challenge.”

Women have been negatively affected through the pandemic, “Having to home-school with little support available whilst still working, has led in some instances to careers stalling and financial security being jeopardised.”

McCourt notes that if the pandemic has shown the world anything it’s that “change can be accelerated where there is a willingness and a need.”

McCourt adds, “we need to challenge others and ask tough questions: how do we ensure the creation of leadership opportunities available to everyone?  How do we ensure diversity of thought in talent management and career progression?”

Finally, Keisha Bell, Managing Director and Head of Diverse Talent Management and Advancement, DTCC, said, “The best piece of advice I have for women is to focus not on being perfect, but instead, giving your best performance every day. It can often be easy to get caught up in trying to be the perfect friend, boss, colleague, partner and parent, but these are unrealistic goals that can take a significant amount of time and energy.”

Continuing Bell said, “Over the course of my career, I’ve learned to focus on the bigger picture, to be kinder to myself and to strive to make a positive impact in everything I do. This mindset has enabled me to prioritise better, build greater confidence and grow in my career and achieve success.”

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