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Rebranding advice to attract more women

As the industry struggles to keep the advisers it has, an adviser says a rebrand of the profession may be needed to attract more women to the industry and boost numbers.

Speaking with ifa, Natallia Smith, founder and principal financial adviser at TruWealth Advice, explained how the lack of understanding around advice as a profession is stopping more women from joining.

It is an issue that has been discussed considerably, particularly as the industry continues to struggle with the lack of advisers, and Smith said the profession is in need of a rebrand to help people understand what it means to be an adviser and attract more women to advice.

“I think if you’ve got the understanding where it’s not just about numbers, but also it is about understanding your client. I think that would be really important, to also focus on the soft skills so we can get them more interested,” she said.

“Potentially just not focusing on the numbers only. We are an industry that is relationship based. We are an industry where you deal with other people and you help them.”

Smith explained how the current perception of advice as a career path could be hindering women from joining as it is often thought of as rather clinical, rather than seeing the client relationships that form such a large part of the job.

“It’s very dry, very numbers-oriented, very rational, logical. But it’s not. It does have that component to it, but a lot of it is all about emotions because 90 per cent of our purchases are made based on emotions,” she said.


“So it’s all about understanding how we can have a better life and provide better advice. Because people that we see, our clients, are going through emotions at any particular time.”

A panel at the Stockbrokers and Investment Advisers Association (SIAA) annual conference in Melbourne last month echoed similar ideas, stressing the need to rebrand advice to encourage more women into the industry.

Speaking on the panel, Rebecca Hill, Morgan Stanley’s head of wealth management, Australia, said a long-term approach is needed to address the issue of gender balance within the profession.

“We do have that gap. I don’t think it’s insurmountable but there’s no short-term solution. We do have to, as an industry, work together around that and be more creative, think about different career pathways in,” Hill said.

Wilsons Advisory chief executive Brad Gale highlighted the need to develop focus programs to entice more women into advice and drive change.

“I think it actually starts at a graduate level and it moves through to senior levels, where role modelling is really important. We need to embrace the development of young talent, we need to commit to have far more equal, if not equal, or outsize recruitment programs of females to males. And that way, the generational change can happen,” Gale said.

With so few women currently working in advice, Smith said she wants to help mentor those who would consider joining the industry, helping bring in the next generation of female advisers.

“I obviously always want to increase the percentage of women in the industry. I would love to help other women. Mentoring is so important to me. Helping other women to grow in their careers is so important. I’m really passionate about that.”

She added, “We do want to see more women in financial advice, and I encourage women to reach out if they’ve got any questions.”