Writing for International Women’s Day, Amy Stromanis (pictured) is associate director at Access Equity Release
I love this industry. Mortgages and in particular equity release – helping clients at a major junction in their lives to get the best out of their financial planning and the years ahead. It is rewarding work and the opportunities for career development are excellent. I am proud of my career path to board level over the past 12 years.
However some things do need to change and that includes the number of women working in the industry – particularly at board level.
It’s not just mortgage advisers of course but IFAs too. According to Financial Conduct Authority figures released under a FOI request in 2017, just 14.3% of CF1 and CF30 permission holders were female. The number of CF30 females had actually gone down from 17.9% in 2015 to 13.9% two years later.
We don’t have figures for CeMAP or CeRER qualified females but the anecdotal evidence for those of us working in the industry is clear. There are simply too few of us women in the pool.
We are a proactive equal opportunities employer and we have more female than male employees. However we would definitely welcome more female advisers, who currently only make up 15%. We would love to have more women in client facing roles because we know how successful they can be – we have seen it with our own advisers.
How do we shake off the old fashioned label of being a “male dominated” field and encourage more women into an area of financial services where they can undoubtedly thrive?
From my perspective I think we have to shout louder at the younger generations of women about the career opportunities available to them in financial services – particularly mortgages and equity release.
One asset that we do have in this industry is equal pay! The pay gap for large firms in the UK is believed to be around 78% in favour of men (Equalities and Human Rights Commission 2018 report). However commission for mortgage and equity release advice is no different between men and women – at least that is most certainly the case at Your Mortgage Decisions and Access Equity Release.
Flexible working is another major benefit. We know that is often women who are less able to commit to the old fashioned 9-5 and this can impact their career development in other industries.
We offer all staff – men and women – the opportunity to be in control of their own diary and working week. The hours made available for appointments are up to them and they receive the same high level of support as those who are office based. Nobody works in a silo but they certainly are a world away from clocking in and out.
Most importantly though I think we need to make it abundantly clear that this is an industry in which women’s voices will not only be heard but are keenly in demand.
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