>Speaking at a roundtable event of the AFA Inspire network in Sydney yesterday, Fiona Navarro, general manager of NAB-aligned licensee Apogee, said the financial advice industry needs to do more to encourage women to set up their own practice.
“We don’t have enough women running licensees or in senior positions. Even when we do – and I say this from my personal perspective – then it’s really difficult to get female advisers to step up and run their own businesses, so there are some obvious opportunities there,” Ms Navarro said.
Ms Navarro said there should be a greater focus on educating young female advisers about business administration and entrepreneurship, as many opt to stay in advice support roles or embark on careers in salaried and employed advice channels.
She also encouraged women to seek more senior positions in the male-dominated industries of insurance and funds management.
“We need to be providing more support about what it means to be a business owner,” she said.
“And when I say support I’m not talking about motivation, it’s much more about the practicalities of running a business and mentoring [women] to understand that they can run their own business and they can be independent and they can be very successful.”
Addressing the same event, AFA president Deborah Kent said a reluctance to take a “leap of faith” was holding back some women from setting up their own practice.
“You have to go off the cliff and hope you fly, and that comes from confidence,” Ms Kent said.
“Well I’ve jumped off the cliff a number of times and I’m still here.
“What we need to do, as an industry, is encourage women to get that confidence by mentoring them to take that leap of faith. Because that’s what it is.”
An extended version of the Inspire Roundtable discussion will feature in the May edition of ifa magazine