Advice firms need to embrace softer skills
For too long the financial services sector has been a male-dominated industry – particularly at boardroom level – and the value of having a gender-balanced workforce either underestimated or overlooked altogether.
However, over recent years women have begun to gain some ground on their male counterparts, a development which has brought benefit to the businesses and clients alike.
Blacktower Financial Management has made many advances in the area of gender equality and, as a company, is proud of the effect this had on our service offering.
Women in financial services, according to Christina Brady
Not all women are the same and not all men are the same, but on a general level it is true to say that women bring a slightly different approach to their male peers, frequently by bringing so-called “softer” skills to the client-adviser interaction.
For example, men may sometimes bring an overly-pragmatic approach, which, although useful in isolation, is always best-supported by emotional insight and the ability to listen carefully to the client’s financial and retirement goals, aspirations, inheritance plans and cashflow needs.
If firms are represented by genders equally, from the bottom to the top, they can ensure that they bring a balanced service that does not over-emphasise traditionally masculine or indeed feminine qualities over the other.
Gender balance in financial services, according to Manuela Robinson
There is some irony to be found in the fact that an industry which places such an emphasis on the importance of diversification in investing has been occasionally slow in ensuring gender diversification within its own workforce – particularly in regard to senior levels of management, where, it is essential that meritocracy prevails, regardless of gender.
Of course, greater inclusion of women in the sector has to be advanced in the right way; it is only by providing meaningful pathways – for example mentorship programmes for younger women starting out in the business – that women can break the glass ceiling and begin to take on senior roles in the boardroom. But the keyword here is “meaningful”; box-ticking exercises can be harmful, firstly because they patronise the people they are meant to help and secondly, because they can create an impression that women are getting their roles based on gender alone rather because of their ability.
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