Women in financial services: How the industry is evolving to meet the needs of women

by Badgley Phelps | Jan 25, 2018

To many, financial services is still thought of as a man’s world – 80-hour workweeks are a regular occurrence and women who want a family and a career should just give up the plight. But as the woman at our firm will tell you – it isn’t that way everywhere. The industry is evolving to become one where women can not only survive, but thrive. In part three of our three-part series on women in finance, developed with input from five of the women who work at Badgley Phelps, we share thoughts on how the industry is evolving to meet the needs of women investors – and how it’s evolving to attract and retain female talent.

How do you see this industry evolving – or how would you like to see it evolve – to meet the needs of women investors?

“I would like to see the industry move away from a paternalistic, ‘trust me, I know what’s best’ approach in the relationship between the adviser and the client to a more informed partnership.”
Associate Wealth Manager and Financial Planner Jan Yamamoto

“The industry is moving toward wealth management rather than investment management. I think women want to feel secure about their financial future and want a road map on how to reach their goals. There is so much more to successful investing than which stock or fund you choose.”
Wealth Manager and Research Analyst Mitzi Carletti

“Women are increasingly in charge of the household nest egg. Our industry has already evolved by putting more women on the front lines and at the top of wealth management firms. Developing trusting relationships will be imperative. I’m seeing more women educating themselves on the importance of the fiduciary standard and researching their options. Our industry needs to be prepared to answer women investors’ tough questions.”
Director of Financial Planning and Wealth Manager Julie Parisio Roy 

“I don’t think there are vast differences between the needs of women investors and men investors. Our core end goals are all very similar. Every picture is slightly different, but a lot of the core components that go into creating that picture are the same. That said, it’s great to see women, as a demographic, being marketed to. It means the industry values them, sees them as a powerful sector of our population who is discerning, strategic and smart.”
Associate Wealth Manager Lisa Price

“Education is an amazing tool to empower women to take control of their future and their finances. I would like to see the industry incorporate more behavioral finance principles into the mainstream to make it easier to overcome our natural biases as humans. Financial discussions shouldn’t be taboo for women, or relegated to ‘the man of the house.’ Women are arguably better at some financial and investing matters than men are.”
Research Analyst Katie Wham

How do you see the industry evolving to attract more female professionals?

“Unfortunately, the industry hasn’t really attracted that many women over time. Wall Street has a less than stellar reputation which many women would prefer to avoid. And that is why I recommend to anyone interested in this industry read ‘My Side of the Street’ by Jason Trennert. He focuses on the majority of people doing good work that are largely ignored by the media. It gives me hope.”
Wealth Manager and Research Analyst Mitzi Carletti

“There are more independent woman advisers willing to go it on their own – doing it their way. This allows for greater control over how they run their business and the direction they want to take. Specializing on serving a smaller, niche clientele instead of playing the numbers game.”
Associate Wealth Manager and Financial Planner Jan Yamamoto

“Overwhelmingly, the women who have chosen a career in the financial industry, lift up, mentor and advocate for each other.”
Associate Wealth Manager Lisa Price

“Like other industries, finance will need to work from the top down (with more female leaders) as well as the bottom up (recruiting more female employees). Two other important dimensions for the finance industry to work on changing are the perception that finance jobs require long, grueling hours and offering more generous family leave benefits. Women may not consider a finance job because of the impression that they can’t ‘have a life’ outside the office, and even if they do enter the industry, they may leave and not return after having children because of the daunting challenge of balancing work and family/childcare demands.”
Research Analyst Katie Wham

“A few years ago, CFP Board launched a Women’s Initiative to get the word out that this is a fantastic industry for women. Through outreach and mentorship, CFP Board is hoping to land the CFP letters after more female names. I see this as a big step in the right direction.

“But perhaps the best story I have that illustrates change in the industry is this: I recently attended the Schwab IMPACT conference, a national gathering of registered investment adviser professionals. I had fun taking my photo with a replica statue of ‘Fearless Girl,’ the now-famous statue facing down the ‘Wall Street bull.’ It was then I noticed the line to the women’s restroom was out the door. This was impactful because in my 20 years in financial services, I don’t remember ever having to stand in line at a finance industry event.”
Director of Financial Planning and Wealth Manager Julie Parisio Roy

Interested in a career in financial services? Read more about the benefits of working in finance >



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