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Now in its fifth year, the FPA’s Women in Financial Planning (WIFP) program is expanding to offer scholarships and grants as well as mentoring opportunities. Here are some highlights from this year’s events and inspiring words from five of our WIFP champions.
While women are still underrepresented in financial advice – just under 20 per cent on the Financial Advice Register are women – they are growing in their influence and confidence. Current membership numbers for the Financial Planning Association (FPA) show women make up 30.9 per cent of members overall, with the majority of student members (54.8 per cent) being women. This suggests we’re going to see many more women entering the profession in the near future.
Women who already work as financial planners are proving themselves as capable and confident professionals. They are just as likely as male planners to have clearly articulated business growth plan, show a strong sense of initiative and a drive to ensure their business succeeds. They’re also more optimistic about the coming year, with 54.2 per cent of female FPA members feeling confident about growth for their business compared with 46.9 per cent of male members.
About the program
The FPA’s Women in Financial Planning program is designed to attract more women to the profession and to foster community, innovation and leadership amongst existing financial planners.
The program has been running for about 5 years. Over the past year, we have had fantastic feedback and engagement at our recent webinars, such as the Take the Handbrake off your success series in 2020 covering mindset, influence and communication and our What a difference a woman makes masterclass session held to celebrate International Women’s Day in March 2021.
The importance of education
Over the years, the importance of ongoing education has come through strongly as a consistent theme for women as they look to progress their careers in financial planning.
With the FPA being awarded the management and delivery of the Government’s $1.5 million Women in Finance and Economics Scholarship Program, the time is right for a strong focus on supporting women in financial planning to both pursue careers in financial planning as well as to renew, upskill or refresh their skills in these areas. This is why our focus for the program during 2021/22 is on promoting the importance and value of ongoing education, and the opportunities that currently exist, both through the women scholarship program and from female leaders in financial planning across the FPA membership base.
Our WIFP Champions
Around Australia there are 17 WIFP champions who volunteer as local advocates for women working in financial advice. We hear from five successful financial planners on what education and mentoring has meant to them during their careers.
“I’ve been fortunate during my career to work with many exceptional and talented people – both men and women! I am fond of mentoring and know it works from personal experience. Not only does mentoring widen your knowledge and perspective, but it also provides greater self-esteem and social-emotional development benefits – all critical for making the most of academic and career goals.”
Vicky Ampoulos, Rest
“Study for me has been a key focus of my career early on. I always had a goal of completing my CFP® and I found this study coupled with my hands on experience really assisted me in being more comfortable with client conversations. I have also found the more I study, the more different aspects of financial planning become clearer. Having recently completed my behavioural finance unit, I have a better understanding of key areas – such as the biases we are all faced with – which I feel has made me a better planner for my clients.
Mentoring has played a big part of my career journey. I’ve had both internal and external mentors, all from various backgrounds. Several of my mentors have been paired with me through specific mentoring groups, and they became part of my support team as my career has evolved. Having someone in your corner, as a support person, to celebrate the achievements and work through tough times has helped me create the path I am on. I would highly recommend finding someone to be part of your team, regardless of where you are in your career.”
Nicola Beswick CFP®, FMD Financial
“As a younger adviser in the industry I have found that by completing my degree and found self-motivated hard working mentors have already had a large impact on my career thus far. I would say to all the young professionals out there and those studying go out and speak to advisers and message them directly. Don’t be scared and make the leap to connect with advisers in the industry, they are friendly people and want to help.”
Laura Kelly, MLC Advice
“Being of immigrant background, my mother has always instilled in me a learning culture and placed a massive emphasis on education. Education has boosted my knowledge base and knowledge builds confidence. This confidence for me translated to well thought out strategies for my clients. Education and confidence also served as building blocks to demonstrating credibility and earning trust with my clients.”
Jade Khao, ANZ
“I started my career in financial markets in the 80’s and the only education, closely related to my field, was an evening stockbroking course completed at the Sydney Stock Exchange. Knowledge through education has always provided a point of difference throughout my career and has provided me with business confidence. It is wonderful to see new entrants have a clear education path to help them build a foundation for their professional career.”
Lyn Walker CFP®, Advice Link Financial Planning
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