For the financial planning industry to be sustainable, active strategies must be implemented to recruit, mentor and retain young people, people of colour and more women. While it is encouraging to see exponential growth and change, the industry still faces many challenges, including the average age and gender of planners and the lack of diversity concerning race.
Kim Potgieter, Director at Chartered Wealth Solutions, says that her work in financial services has been the most meaningful years of her career. Yet, the journey has not always been easy in a male-dominated industry.
Often feeling misunderstood, she knew her experience was not unique and that many women in the profession felt the same way. Inspired to ignite change, Potgieter partnered with Allan Gray, Old Mutual Wealth, Chartered Wealth Solutions and the FPI to form the Women in Finance Network (WiFN) in 2013. The aim of the WiFN is to connect women in the planning industry through shared experiences, support, mentoring, learning and networking; ultimately attracting and retaining women in the profession.
Industry can change for the better if women planners work together
Potgieter firmly believes that the industry can change for the better if women planners work together and inspire each other toward this goal. Women have the inherent skill to form meaningful and lasting relationships with their unique gift of authenticity, skill-set of empathy, coaching and intuitive approach. By connecting with the hearts and minds of their clients, the value-add of financial planning significantly increases and brings the industry one step closer to an intrinsic profession.
Women in Finance Network partners, along with renowned guests such as Nikki Bush, Nene Molefi, Maya Fischer-French and Nicky Newton-King, plan to host regular events in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town.
At the first hybrid event this year, guest speaker Asnath Mahapa shared her journey and the many obstacles she faced to become the first African commercial pilot. Verity Price, winner of the 2021 Toastmasters World Championship in Public Speaking, joined the second hybrid event in Cape Town to tell her inspirational story.
Events to network and form meaningful mentor-mentee relationships
Apart from learning and sharing ideas with motivational guest speakers, members use these events to network and form meaningful mentor-mentee relationships. The collaboration, skill-sharing and coaching between more experienced and younger planners benefit the industry and our clients. Kim believes that we all need to find ways to mentor and encourage others for significant change to become a reality.
Giving back is an essential pillar of WiFN. Potgieter believes that we have to discover the potential in others and find ways to grow that potential. For this reason, the Women in Finance Network sponsors students from the ASISA Academy to attend events and sponsors one female student’s Financial Planning Honours/Post Graduate Diploma. After an extensive selection process, Hibah Shafi received the first bursary this year.
The ability of women to drive collaborative change, support each other in the process and play a key role in leadership and innovation will have a crucial impact on the success of future financial planning, recruitment and retention of woman planners and the status of the industry.