Posted on 6/12/2020 by BWD
WOMEN in Wealth Management
An Honest Insight with Graeme Winn
Last month, BWD shared the first in a series of interviews I have conducted with women in Wealth Management.
This weeks’ interview is with an Investment Director who, with 15 years’ experience, has developed an excellent reputation within her region.
How did you enter the industry?
It was through a contact at my University’s careers office. I initially secured a placement year and then felt that this was a great career path for me to pursue. Following the placement year, the firm asked me to stay in touch following graduation and that’s exactly what I did.
What is it like to work within a male-dominated environment?
Personally, it hasn’t caused me issues! If anything, it has created more opportunities for me as an Investment Manager as some clients prefer to have a female contact.
Day-to-day in the office I really enjoy it. Whilst the front office has always been skewed towards men, most offices have a support function, and this tends to be female-dominated. Because of this, my day-to-day job maintains an enjoyable balance of interacting with both men and women.
Have you experienced any particular challenges or barriers to promotion?
At a former employer I ended up departing as a result of the lack of opportunity available despite me being qualified, I think this is quite a common issue among graduates coming into the industry where you just have to either wait for a role or move on in order to progress. I would stress that I don’t think this is anything at all to do with my gender. Later on in my career I also struggled with a promotion where certain individuals were unsupportive, this was eventually overcome thanks to others fighting my corner though it was a challenging period as I felt like my development was being blocked. This was frustrating and I must admit it did cast a shadow over how I felt towards senior management at the firm throughout the rest of my time there.
Have you ever faced discrimination (albeit subconsciously) in your career? If so, what happened? How did you feel? How did you react? Were there any consequences for anybody involved?
I do feel that I have had difficulties at times, however, I don’t want to put this down to me being a woman. I have faced some challenges in terms of being taken seriously, although I think they may well have been as a result of my age rather than gender, although possibly a combination. As a less experienced Investment Manager in my early career I regularly felt that my point of view wasn’t taken as seriously as my Senior counterparts.
How do you feel attitudes and/or actions have changed during your career towards gender inclusion?
This is an interesting one for me. There seems to be more of an agenda these days with firms wanting to promote equality, although what firms say and their actions do not necessarily go hand in hand with one another.
I have seen instances where firms may promote their willingness to try and encourage females into more senior positions and encourage inclusion, but then when it actually comes down to it nothing changes. I feel that actions speak louder than words and, whilst intentions are better, much more needs to be done.
Do you agree with women-only events?
Absolutely not. I also do not agree with men-only events. I don’t think gender plays any part in one’s ability to do their job and no event should be exclusive to one or the other. I don’t feel this encourages inclusion or addresses any imbalance but instead encourages division.
Do you feel that recent changes in WFH and increased flexibility will help to give women more opportunities?
Potentially for some, although for me it hasn’t made much difference at all. I guess this depends on each individual's circumstances.
What do you enjoy most about being a woman in the industry?
I love my job, being a woman doesn’t have any impact on that I don’t think. I try and avoid the mindset of being a minority in the industry and instead ensure that I am considered an equal in my firm which is based on my ability and performance.
What advice would you give to young women looking to enter the industry?
Stand up for yourself, I spent too long bowing down and just accepting things I didn’t feel was necessarily right. Sometimes it’s hard in a room full of men who are in more senior positions than you but the more you speak up the more opportunity will likely come your way as long as you are reasonable and measured in your approach.
This has been another enjoyable chat with an individual who I have spoken with many times over the past couple of years. As per usual the approach is personable, yet to the point. Her long-standing relationships with her network have become strong because people know exactly where they stand with her and her honest approach has helped progress successfully through her career.
At BWD we realise that the markets we operate in are changing and that data is the new currency, the difference between a good firm and a great firm is the ability of its leaders to adapt quickly and make the right decisions about future strategy. The key to this is about having credible information about buying behaviours, product innovation, disruptive technology, and competitors. Because we are so embedded in the markets we operate in, we have the ability to provide this information in bespoke reports, allowing our clients to make the best-informed and optimal decisions for their businesses.
I hope this proves to be an interesting read for you as all and I look forward to conducting and releasing another interview in the coming weeks.