Sometimes there is a positive outcome for a woman working in finance, for example when attending a business conference where the audience is 90% male and no queue to the ladies.
But sometimes change and accepting the queue is long overdue. It’s now 37 years since I started selling financial products and only now am I sensing that change is happening.
Why do I believe that it matters and why particularly for our clients? Because the men in the financial sales role do have a similar mind set. Demonstrated by the template against which they are recruited.
For example, when I was asked to assist my sales manager (sometime in the late 80s) to assist with recruitment it was blindingly obvious that the psychometric tests applicants completed were designed not to work for women.
My challenge was met by “you would say that”. I later found out that the Bank had rejected the female-appropriate tests, for a reason never explained to me.
I spent 11 years attempting to recruit women to the sales team and was always defeated when excellent candidates rejected the culture, preferring to take their talents elsewhere where they would be appreciated.
No wonder the financial services culture succeeded in wiping out the value of most peoples savings and virtually bankrupted the country. To quote Madame Legarde, “if Lehman Brothers had been Lehmann Sisters, this would not have happened.”
The same sales manager once told me that he was amazed that I not only survived the culture but thrived! I guess that was sort of a complement.
I saw my job as a privilege. I was a new generation given permission to use all my talents in explaining the true benefits to other women of financial independence. I was given freedom to practice my skills, to earn my own independent income and to spend time communicating with people who were prepared to share their financial worries and listen and trust my advice. A dream job; as long as I provided profit for the bank, no questions were asked and I was able to ignore the ‘Laddish behaviour’ of my colleagues.
I make no apologies for championing the role of women as financial advisers. Generally, we are more concerned with finding the best outcomes for our clients.
When the lads were claiming inflated expenses, we were getting on with the detail planning.
When they were bragging about sales targets, we were delighted by a job well done.
The numbers of women advisers is still small. This one will continue to champion women in the role for as long as I continue to work. Nothing would be more satisfying than to have to queue at a future sales conference, as the number of women increases. Alas I think it is going to be many years until it becomes reality.
Here is my message “Women understand money and its usefulness in the real world better than the lads.”
If you are interested in hearing the views of a number of senior insiders please have a look at the video.
Sorry girls they are mostly men, but at least they are being challenged.