Let’s paint a picture of two, typical women in the financial services industry.
The first is Katie, a financial planner who works for a firm in California. One day, Katie receives the call that those of us with young children dread: It’s from her nanny, saying that her child is sick.
Of course, this means Katie must take the day off of work to care for him. But, as the employee of a financial planning firm run by men, the news doesn’t go over well. When Katie returns to work the following day, she is called into a meeting by the male leaders of the firm, who tell her that she needs to find a contingency plan for her nanny — and that plan can’t involve Katie.
The second woman in our picture is Bridget, a financial planner who is receiving an annual performance review by the owner of the wealth management firm she works for. Leadership has tasked Bridget with helping build the firm’s financial planning practice, and she is passionate about her work and the contributions she has made. In addition to serving her growing client list, Bridget frequently speaks to community organizations, hosts countless events, and even launched a monthly women’s group.
During her review, Bridget requests an increase in compensation for her efforts and the goals she has accomplished. Not only are Bridget’s requests flatly denied, but the firm owner tells her that she is “too ambitious” and “too aggressive,” and even remarks that her efforts are “a waste of time.” Bridget leaves the meeting in shock, feeling powerless.
If you haven’t guessed by now, we are these women — and today, we are the founders of Equita Financial Network. But our stories are far from unique. They mirror the experiences of women across our industry, from firms large and small.
Of course, it’s no secret that the financial services world is devoid of female voices — in fact, we make up less than 20% of the advisors working in the field. Outside of our industry, the problem persists — surveys have shown that women make successful leaders, but often don’t have the mentorship, resources or capital needed to grow their businesses.
If you have faced discrimination or hardship at your firm, you’ve probably stepped back and asked yourself: “Why? Is there a better way forward?”
It helps to look at the big picture. You likely pursued a career in financial services because you’re driven by passion — by the need to help others achieve their financial goals and feel confident and secure about their future.
We should never let systemic biases railroad our drive and purpose. We owe it to future generations, to our clients, and to ourselves to find a better way. But how can we continue to do meaningful work in an environment that doesn’t provide us with the support we need to actually do it?
Take the Road Less Traveled
For us, the solution was quite clear: “Launch your own firm.” After we started our own firms, we felt completely fulfilled — we had more flexibility and fair compensation, and saw the results of our hard work translate into growing, thriving businesses.
But that doesn’t mean the decision wasn’t stressful. It was tough to walk out the door and start anew without knowing what resources we truly needed, where to find them, and how to pay for them. By far, our biggest challenge was the distinct lack of a supportive network for collaboration, which made the road to independence far more difficult.
Solutions for Today and Tomorrow
Now, more than ever before, we need female representation in our industry. We need women in positions of power — leaders who can effectively support, relate to, nurture, and develop female advisors to foster a more inclusive next generation.
We all know the statistics — and now is the time to take action and address them.
And perhaps, most importantly, we need resources made by women, for women. It’s the reason why we founded Equita Financial Network. Our platform encourages women to start their own, fee-only financial planning firms, covering everything from registration and compliance, to insurance coverage and portfolio management, to bookkeeping for clients. The goal is to empower women to run their business the way they want to — fairly, and in the way that allows them to best serve their needs and their clients’ needs.
The right resources open the door to professional fulfillment and a healthier wellbeing — and they also allow you to build a culture that positions others to thrive, encourages pay equality, favors work-life balance, and creates a community for women to collaborate, share best practices, and client solutions. When we come together and support one another, we create a more promising future, on our own terms.
Are you ready to take the leap and launch the practice you’ve always envisioned? Contact us to start the conversation.