There’s little argument the financial services industry needs more women advisors. The question is, how can it grow the ranks of women?
By disrupting the status quo, according to speakers at Financial Advisor magazine’s second annual Invest in Women conference in Dallas.
“Why keep doing things the same way?” asked Eleanor Blayney, consumer advocate at the CFP Board, at the event’s opening session Tuesday.
The industry needs to diversify just like advisors do with a portfolio, she said, “so we can cover the whole breadth of the population we’re serving.”
CFP Board research shows that 23 percent of CFP practitioners are women, Blayney said, adding the percentage has been static over the years.
That can change, though, if female advisors work to attract more young talent and build support networks, the panel said.
“Ask for advice and create advocates” within your firms, said Melissa Joy, partner and director of wealth management at the Center for Financial Planning in Southfield, Mich.
Look for organizations to join and support and opportunities to connect with young people at high schools and colleges, said Jocelyn Wright, chief executive of Ascension Wealth Management in Jenkintown, Pa., chair of the State Farm Center for Women and Financial Services and assistant professor at The American College.
Women face challenges in being hired, being heard, getting paid fairly, rising in the ranks and balancing family and work demands, the panel said.
Even the microphones for the session caused a problem for the female speakers. “They don’t fit on our dresses, and we had to get rid of our jewelry.” Blayney joked.