Friday, 25 March 2022
From Sales Manager to Financial Consultant, Jo's Deans journey shows how rewarding change of career can be easier than you might think — and the crucial role her transferable skills played in her transition. Now a financial adviser with Morrinson Wealth, she is helping to break down stereotypes and barriers for young women in a sector — despite the global growth in women's wealth — is still male-dominated.
I don’t have a financial background. At university, I wanted to be a biomedical researcher but soon realised I wanted a career that offered more opportunities to interact with people. I decided to join a graduate scheme at AB InBev, the world's largest brewer, where I was grateful to be promoted across different functions. This enabled me to build my commercial acumen and determine what I wanted out of my career. At this point I also became interested in the financial sector and was lucky to have people around me who I could talk to about careers in Wealth Management. They encouraged me to consider the career change and, I hate to admit it, but they were right!
I originally envisioned myself changing my career years down the line, but when I lost my dad a couple of years ago it made me stop and consider, ‘ what do I want out of my career?’. I wanted a challenging and rewarding role where I could connect with people and mould my career into what I wanted it to be — to manage my time doing the things I care about while spending time with my family. One of the best things about being a financial adviser is you alone can shape what your day and ultimately your career looks like.
There are so many transferable skills from different industries that are highly applicable to financial advice. Interpersonal skills and project management really stand out though. Building relationships and trust is at the heart of financial advice, while project management skills are critical as you collaborate with stakeholders to meet goals.
I typically start my day prioritising tasks so that I'm clear on what needs to be done. I treat my client relationships as mini projects so, invariably, there are many plates spinning at the same time. The rest of the day varies - I conduct several meetings, in-between which I maximise my free time by focusing on client servicing, marketing and personal development.
A common misconception is that it’s only for the ‘wealthy’. One of my main drivers is to help people understand that financial wellbeing is for everyone, no one should ever feel intimidated about seeking advice. Reach out and ask questions because you just don't know what you don't know. Everyone's situation is different and there are so many variables that impact your financial situation. It’s about doing research and finding the right solutions for you. That can be as simple as restructuring what you're already doing to improve efficiency from a risk, growth and tax point of view.
One of the main reasons that my partner encouraged me to move into this role was because he noticed the gap in the financial industry — recent numbers I saw showed only 14% of advisors on the FCA register are female, which simply doesn't reflect society. Having more female advisors is key to closing the gender advice gap. The growth in women's wealth is outpacing the overall growth in global wealth, yet women are less likely to seek financial advice than men, which doesn’t add up. Females are the largest underserved segment in financial services, so that's the first thing that we need to address. But also, female advisors do bring a different skillset than many males, and an ability build relationships and trust with clients using empathy, active listening and intuition. As financial advice becomes more holistic, it requires advisors to really understand an individual's needs and drivers and how their goals fit into their more general wellbeing.
Recent numbers show only 14% of advisers on the FCA register are women, which simply doesn't reflect society today. Having more female advisers is key to closing the gender advice gap. The growth in women's wealth is outpacing the overall growth in global wealth, yet women are less likely to seek financial advice than men. We need to ask ourselves why? Women are the largest underserved segment in financial services, something we urgently need to address. Female advisers bring a different skillset than their male counterparts - an ability to build relationships using empathy, active listening and intuition.
A key benefit is understanding the challenges that women face when it comes to their finances. With more female advisers, we can help equip women with the right knowledge and tools to make sure they’re not hindered by the challenges we face.
I hate to say it, but for me it’s the lack of respect I’ve have encountered from prospective clients. Occasionally I will have meetings where the client will start to ‘interview’ me to try and establish my credibility, which can feel driven by my age and gender. I counteract this by resetting the tone, taking control of the meeting and alleviating doubts by showing the real value of advice and why I'm the expert in the room.
The financial sector needs to reflect the wider community and currently it’s just not doing that. We still don't have enough women in senior roles —visible role models are vital to break misconceptions and encourage more young women to join the sector. Change also means using the right education channels to entice and educate young women about their career choices. In addition, a lot of advisory roles tend to be on a self-employed basis - I remember asking myself, ‘Can I do this career shift?’ ‘How do I go from having a salary to not having one?’ ‘Is it realistic to have kids while in this job?’ We need to be better at addressing these concerns.
A career in finance is challenging, rewarding and will regularly test you. But for women specifically, we have a long way to go to close the gender gap and that makes it an exciting time to be in the sector as we can be a part of that change.