Print this article

Recruiting, Retaining Female Wealth Managers – What’s Being Done?

Shirin Aguiar

18 March 2022

Mindful of the need to retain talent, wealth management firms and banks say they are working to improve the share of women in the workforce and ensuring that they stay on board.

The need to retain female wealth managers is particularly acute given work-life balance considerations of a kind illustrated by the lockdowns. This news service wanted to take time out from the geopolitical storms to look at longer-term concerns, including the need to build more diverse workforces. 

Firms such as , its Luxembourg office participated in the Positive Actions programme developed by the Luxembourg Ministry of Equality, receiving “Positive Actions” certification. Last year, the bank appointed two female country managing directors: Alberica Brivio Sforza in Milan and Mariella Assumpçao Gontijo in Sao Paulo. 

“In the last five years (2017 to 2021), Lombard Odier saw a retention rate of around 80 per cent among the almost 200 women that we employed in positions with front office responsibilities (bankers, portfolio management, wealth management and banker’s assistants),” the firm told this news service.

Brown Shipley, the UK firm, signed up to the Women in Finance Charter in January 2018. At that time, it had 18 per cent female senior management representation. This has increased to 32 per cent as at September 2021. It is committed to having 40 per cent in 2023. 

Female representation on its executive committee has risen from 12 per cent in 2019 to 33 per cent as at the end of 2021. Brown Shipley has its first female chair and has appointed a female non-executive director. For the first time the firm now has female board members (29 per cent). 

“We have made positive progress within our senior management in 2021 and need to extend this across our population with a continued focus on ensuring that at all stages of employee life cycle there is a policy of gender neutrality and that there is gender balance in recruitment shortlists,” Elizabeth Weir, head of private banking and London, said. 

At Kingswood Group, recruiting and retaining females is vital to developing its diverse workforce, the UK firm said. It has recruited more females into its executive team. The wealth manager said it is important to have role models within leadership as well as having female advisors. Currently 14 per cent of its overall advisor count is female. 

“Recruiting and retaining female advisors will remain a continual focus for Kingswood,” Rachel Bailey, managing director, head of HR at Kingswood, said.

For its part, RBC Wealth Management said the challenge for wealth managers is to ensure that they have diverse teams that reflect its clientele. The firm is trying to encourage greater diversity among those entering the workforce by being more vocal about the spectrum of roles, products and services in the industry. Along with other companies, it is actively tackling this by going to universities and talking much more broadly about jobs within wealth management. Asking people from a variety of roles and backgrounds to talk from personal experience is making a real difference to the demographic of those attracted to careers in the industry, the firm told this publication.

“If firms aren’t considering second careerists then they are missing a trick. The diversity of thought that individuals can bring from other sectors is what our clients want and need,” Katherine Waller, head of new sales delivery at RBC Wealth Management, said. “Second careerists think differently about things than those who have always worked in wealth management. They have managed different challenges, asked different questions, worked in different leadership teams and worked with different clients. This is like a breath of fresh air for the industry.”

(Additional reporting by Tom Burroughes)