Andrea Wood, Investment Manager
On International Women’s Day, we speak to Andrea Wood from our Investment Management team, to ask about her professional experiences in the world of investment and financial planning, what women can do to improve their financial awareness, and her top financial planning tips specifically for women!
Women in financial planning – your experience as a female investment manager
One obstacle to women seeking financial advice is that investment management and financial planning are traditionally male dominated areas, and studies confirm that the percentage of male financial planners outweighs the number of female financial planners.
Q:The world of wealth management and financial planning is still very much perceived as a “man’s world”. From your experience, was it hard to break into this field?
My personal experience has been very positive, especially my time at MHA Caves Wealth. Having confidence in my ability to do my job and the knowledge I have gained has enabled me to confidently put myself forward for roles within the industry, and within the firm. I was never worried that being female would hold me back, because I knew I had what it took to do the role. But yes, the industry does still feel very “blue pinstripe suits”, although you can definitely see more diversity coming through the younger ranks – not just for women but for minority groups too.
Q:Do you think female advisers have a different style or approach as compared to their male counterparts?
I think females are naturally more emotionally driven, and this is a good thing with regards to investments and financial planning. It can allow you to connect with a client on a more personal level and really understand their aims. That being said, my male colleagues do a fantastic job of connecting with their clients and giving them the best possible outcomes.
Q:How did you start your career in investment management?
I studied Accounting at university, and in my third year took a financial services module which instantly got me hooked on the industry and I knew this was what I wanted to do. Naturally, the accounting degree gave me a solid foundation for starting a career in finance.
Q:Do you have any advice for girls who may be in school or college now and wanting to get into this area?
Have confidence in your abilities, your knowledge, and your strengths. Know what you are good at, and how to market that. You will find a career in financial services really rewarding.
Q:Any anecdotes that you’d like to share about your experiences, or career journey, so far?
I am proud to be the first level 6 qualified female, first female investment manager, and first female execution-only stockbroker at MHA Caves Wealth. This is not due to inequal opportunities at the firm (far from it), but because of backdated attitudes from the industry as whole that have previously held women back. I am proud to show that hard work and determination can make it happen!
Financial Planning for Women – confidence is key.
A lot of progress has been made in many social, economic and political areas to improve equality for women. However, financial equality of the genders is still a long way off, especially financial awareness and independence amongst women.
Q:In your experience, do many women seek financial advice?
Most clients that come to us are couples, and traditionally the women have lacked knowledge and understanding of the family financial situation, as that was how finances were handled for generations. However, we are definitely noticing a more shared responsibility between husband and wife of both understanding of the family finances and on the earnings front.
Q:Is the financial plan you’d put together for a woman particularly different than that for a man?
Women may have different aims and objectives from men, and we aim to reflect that in our financial advice and planning.
Q:In keeping with IWD theme of Equity, are there any ways you can highlight where more could be done to empower women to become financially aware and independent?
Financial literacy needs to be taught in schools, a basic understanding of financial products and the system as a whole will enable women to have the confidence to manage their finances in the best way for them.
Andrea’s top financial planning tips for women:
- Have the confidence to seek financial advice – the industry is not run by men for men.
- Be fully aware of your financial situation – having a clear picture of your current situation will help you to achieve your financial goals.
- With investment, stick to your gut instincts – they are normally correct.
- Start investing and saving as early as you can and work it into your budget – don’t treat it as an afterthought at the end of the month.
Happy International Women’s Day to everyone!
We hope you have enjoyed this Q&A with Andrea and have taken away some valuable tips on financial planning.
Andrea Wood is part of our Investment Management team. You can find out more about Andrea here.
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