I am a client advisor at Brown Shipley in Manchester, I look after wealthy individuals (many of whom are successful entrepreneurs) and their families and help them to plan their finances, whether that is post business exit or helping them to make the most of their asset base whilst they are still working. I have worked in Wealth Management for the last 15 years, and I joined the industry in the middle of the credit crunch in 2008. It was an interesting time to join, and I learnt a lot in that first year. Before starting my career in Wealth management I worked in property, but I also spent time working in the hospitality industry when I was a student and after I graduated.
I didn’t have a plan of what I was going to do when I left University, but as I started working I worked out where my strengths were and that I would want to work with clients in one form or another. I started working in the property industry in 2004 and I would say looking back that getting the role at one of the UK’s leading real estate consultancy firms was a turning point, as it led to so many other opportunities. Up until that point I had always worked for smaller businesses, so it was a big change for me to work for a large corporate.
Yes, I was made redundant from my role in property during the credit crunch as the office I worked in was closed down. At the time this seemed like a huge blow, as I loved my role and the company and it was difficult to find another role in property. I was fortunate in that I had built up a network of contacts in that role and one of those was in financial services, he offered me a job and paid for my qualifications. I am grateful to have had that opportunity, as it set me on the path to my current role.
Returning from maternity leave following the birth of my daughter and being promoted. I had to pass two exams as part of the process and juggling that and a baby was difficult at times and took a lot of resilience. At the time my daughter was in and out of hospital very regularly with chest infections which added an extra layer of pressure. I felt really proud of myself for sticking with it and getting through that time.
Perseverance and belief in myself. My Dad spent a lot of time telling me I can do anything I put my mind to, and I have followed that advice. It has sometimes meant I have bitten off more than I can chew though! (see previous answer!)
I have had mentors in the past and I think it’s really important as it’s a great experience to help you develop. I think both the mentor and the mentee get a lot out of it and there is a huge amount of value in having access to someone who has been through the experiences you are trying to navigate. I also think that as you move forward in your career it is important to help lift others up the ladder too and mentoring is a great way of doing that and opening up opportunities for others.
A very tricky question, but I think the key factor that would accelerate the pace of change for Gender equality would be for a more flexible working pattern becoming the norm for both Men and Women.
The Wealthiher Network is great for helping to further develop knowledge amongst colleagues and clients about diversity & inclusion. It also provides us with further insights backed by research, around what female clients might want from their investments and the team who look after them. Additionally WealthiHer also provide excellent networking events and educational workshops.
Don’t be so hard on yourself. I have had a tendency to over analyse situations and be too critical of what I got wrong in the past. Now I take the view that whilst mistakes are unfortunate you can’t get everything right first time and they represent a learning opportunity.
I think the industry needs to be more imaginative about recruitment, both from a gender perspective and also in terms of encouraging more diversity in general. Our clients come from all backgrounds and walks of life, but the adviser population in wealth management doesn’t reflect that on the whole. Thinking about how we recruit and opening up new pathways into the industry are important going forward.
I would say seek out some allies in your workplace or your wider network who can be a sounding board. Having a network of contacts who can upskill you and help you is really valuable.
Career wise I am still relatively new in my role at Brown Shipley so my focus is on getting embedded in the company culture and helping to facilitate positive change in the business, whilst growing my client book.