Among the expansion plans are:
• building a national team of female Financial Planners and Paraplanners and doubling its eight female Financial Planners to 16
• expanding to more offices nationally so that female clients can visit any of Succession’s hubs nationwide
• establishing the Edinburgh office as the flagship for the firm
• launching a training academy for graduates, return-to-workers and those planning to move up the career ladder
The firm this week marked two decades since it opened its doors to offer a dedicated advice for women.
Recent research found that women often face barriers in advancing in financial services, an issue Treasury Committee MP are to probe. Research by Kantar has also found that female clients often find financial services “aggressively masculine” and are put off as a result.
The company believes it is the longest-running IFA for women in the UK and earlier this year it became what it believes is the first national Financial Planning for women when it was acquired by national wealth management firm Succession Group as its specialist women’s brand.
Established in 1997, Independent Women, a signatory to the Women in Finance Charter, was established after founder and managing director Lesley Mackintosh noticed a gap in financial services. A combination of client feedback, along with Mackintosh’s own personal experiences as a woman in the industry, inspired her to establish a firm focused on women-centric services.
Ms Mackintosh said: “In 2018, our aim is to build a solid, national team of female planners and Paraplanners, so that at any time, our clients can approach one of our regional offices and find someone they can talk to. It’s a difficult task as the industry still has low numbers of women entering and staying in these positions but we believe that a lot of this is due to the working conditions.
“We’re offering family-friendly, flexible working conditions as well as training and support, and as experts in our field, have a steady stream of enquiries to help our planners to build their client bank. Our ultimate aim is to double the Independent Women team size nationally in 2018 – no small feat but we know we can do it.
She added: “Twenty years of experience and research show that what women want from financial services is a combination of female focused values: a friendly and respectful relationship and an uplifting experience from a planner with whom they can speak openly, without judgement, jargon, or hassle”.
“What we don’t want is to place more demands on women’s time or head space. We are here to listen, guide and mentor, and to have open dialogue. Women have their own money, and they want to be informed about how to manage it. That means questions and thinking time, and sometimes a few meetings before signing up for any change. It’s not just about reaching a desired portfolio figure; it’s about holistic advice and that’s a lifestyle”.
Independent Women says it prides itself on its understanding of the women’s market and the firm recognises that often, traumatic life events can be the triggers for many to seek financial advice for the first time. It has built a specialist service for those experiencing separation or divorce, a career break, provisioning for children or dependants, or coping with the loss of a life partner who may also have been the financial manager in the house.
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