In 2021, Liberty launched its Women Advisory Council as part of the company’s drive towards closing the financial adviser gender gap and in 2022, this council has seen encouraging results.
The council was established to facilitate conversations and solutions around the challenges faced by female financial advisers – and how best to overcome them. By gathering some of Liberty’s most insightful and experienced female FAs, the council’s agenda is focused on developing new mentorship programs and other engagement opportunities within the organisation.
“We know the financial services sector is predominantly male, and that women entering the advisory space often face barriers that impede their progress towards getting ahead. But these challenges aren’t unique, there are other women who’ve gone through them and come out stronger. These are the women that we’ve identified as our trailblazers, helping to cultivate the next generation of FA leadership,” says Sindi Mondi, Liberty Investment Specialist, and chairperson of the forum.
By telling these stories of success, Mondi says Liberty hopes to inspire more young women to enter the FA space and use their unique skillsets to help transform the industry for the better.
Gender inequality in the financial services sector has been a global conversation for years, and the global pandemic disproportionately affected women in the workplace. “This rings true – currently, 43% of Liberty’s financial advisers are women, and we are working on increasing that number. In my personal experience, I’ve heard the stories of female FAs who struggle because their approach is so different to their male colleagues. We shouldn’t be discouraging these differing approaches, we should be embracing them and helping women FAs realise they are providing the holistic financial advice that our clients need,” says Mondi.
It is these gender-based challenges that often lead to promising young FAs leaving the industry, she says, but retaining this talent should be a major priority for Financial Service Provider.
Mondi adds that it’s important for young women in the sector who find themselves struggling to reach out for support. They can also turn to the mentorship and career guidance programs already available at Liberty.
“Over the next few months, we will be bringing together some of our best female talent to talk about their career journeys, and how they faced the challenges that are so unique to women: from work-life balance as moms and primary caregivers to breaking through the glass ceiling. We want as many people as possible to join this forum and create a new pillar of support – to drive equality in our industry and for us to learn from each other,” says Mondi.
Bongani Khulu, Liberty Omni Channel Engagement & Sales Executive, who spearheaded the formation of this forum says that good strides have been made to recruit and support female financial advisers in the organisation.
“We are currently above 40% recruitment levels, taking this above global and national norms which are between 30-35%,” ” says Khulu.
Further to that, female entrepreneur principals have been appointed and they will be building their own franchises within the tied advisory space.
“Our intentions are to embrace a complete view of the female adviser space to establish a solid foundation for female advisers and their clients so we at Liberty can fully address the challenges of the society we live in,” he says.
For more information on the Women Advisory Council, contact Sindi.Mondi@liberty.co.za