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Insights for Women Advisors

As we arrive at the International Women’s Day, we are highlighting and celebrating views of various women advisors and mentors.

Usha Mallya- founder of IFA Insights, a coach to many advisors, shares her views on women advisors and the industry.

Let me start by congratulating women Financial Advisors,  they are the path breakers in the Mutual Fund industry.  

Coming to the main topic- Insights for Women Advisors in the Profession, I want to approach it from an investor’s point of view.

What does an investor look for in an advisor? According to me they look for;

•    Knowledge,

•    Understanding of their needs

•    Trust

So will this change if the advisor is a woman? No.

So men or women advisors, need to follow the same practices or processes in the profession to have happy clients. Skill sets required for succeeding in the profession remain the same irrespective of whether men or women Financial Advisor.

This profession requires a lot of soft skills, which is where women definitely have an advantage as they have a natural disposition for the profession. They are naturally empathetic, good at relationship building, their ability to talk in a simple language. And finally explaining the product without coming across as intimidating or overwhelming.  So they should definitely play to their strengths and use it to enhance their client’s investments. Keep their language simple. Women Advisors can play a huge role in educating women about finance and investments. It’s widely known that women are more comfortable and engage better with women. So women advisors have a huge opportunity to encourage and increase women participation in the matters of finance and investments. And this naturally progresses to children as well.

Knowledge is one of the essential criteria for choosing a Financial Advisor. Here women advisors may have to work slightly harder to display and demonstrate their knowledge levels. This is because of the general perception about women not being knowledgeable about Finance and investments. So a certification (not just AMFI certificate) or professional qualification would help in building client confidence.

Another area they definitely need to work on is – Networking – They should build a community of women advisors in their area, share best practices and success stories, they can come together and conduct investor education camps targeting women. Women advisors should also constantly interact with their male peers and lead roles in advisor or investing forums. This will not only project women as an expert in their field but also help build credibility and trust.

Needless to say constant updation of knowledge is essential to the success of a Financial Advisor.   

Finally, I believe it’s a good time for more women to get into this profession, especially women who have a background in banking, insurance. Women who have taken a career break due to family commitments can also consider this profession to get back into the working mode. This profession allows women to balance work and home if they so wish to.

Such women can opt to be part of the larger Distributor network of India where they provide advisors with constant guidance, training, product knowledge, etc. In fact, Large National Distributors also should tap women to be part of their sub-broker network.

Women should bring to the table all the skills sets that are required to be a successful Financial Advisor.

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