How to best work with female clients

Being flexible and understanding female staff within an advisory firm can translate into a better relationship with female clients.

In an Association of Financial Advisers webinar, national practitioner chair, John Cachia, and financial planner, Tim Henry, discussed how to help women in both advice firms and as clients.

This included factoring in maternity leave, the gender wage and superannuation gap, and childcare costs.

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Henry said: “It’s upon all of us, whether we are male or female, to understand the people we are delivering advice to and how we can try to improve or gain knowledge about the challenges they are going through.”

Henry said he often asked female staff in his office what they would think of the advice and how they would want it delivered to them.

Cachia added: “You want to be in touch with their needs and being skilled in those areas is really important so that we are delivering advice in a way that is easy for them to receive with whatever pressures they have on in their life.

He said he had partnered with Financy which was an organisation to help women’s financial progress and highlight gender equality. It gave the firm a “great framework” for which questions to ask female clients.

Cachia added it was important to be flexible with the firm’s own staff and accommodate female or parental needs.

“Having that flexibility, not just for females, but for parents and other people in the business, it pays back in spades and it shows you don’t just see them as a number but as a person.

“We encouraged one staff member to go back to university and get her financial planning degree. We want her to get her studies and give her that higher level of flexibility in regard to education.”

Some small businesses could be wary about hiring a woman as they were concerned about the cost but the pair said this was a short-sighted attitude.

“I don’t think you can afford to avoid it and if you do, your business is not going to be around much longer,” Cachia said.

“We’re in an environment where employees are going to command a lot more power because they can. Everyone is short staffed and if you’re not going to be a great place to work then you’re going to have a lot of turnover.”

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sounds like a riveting webinar by two blokes trying to placate their wives. So the golden nuggets were "maternity leave", "gender wage", "superannuation gap", "childcare costs". What about mat leave? Its pretty fair in this country, and the hubby keep working if the wife wants to stay at home. Most 'modern' women have been told motherhood has same value as a career equal, so go back to work before a year anyway. Gender wage (gap?), that been debunked endlessly. Super gap...thats historic when women valued being at home. Work longer and you will have more super. Pretty simply. Or divorce your husband and you half of his. Childcare costs? Gov pays most of it, then what about it?
"You want to be in touch with their needs and being skilled in those areas is really important.." Listening to your client and being skilled in the areas you are giving advice on? who would have thought.
To end its, these blokes say "small businesses could be wary about hiring a woman" but cannot afford NOT to do it..or is that cannot afford it after, these two Einstein's want the small business to increase wage costs, pay more super, pay for daycare, give more maternity leave..

I'm a female. I absolutely applaud the initiative guys. As someone in the industry for 25 years since I was a grad, I copped a lot of comments when I was younger about how I wasn't wanted as a new hire as I was going to 'go and have babies'. Or, 'if we train you, you'll just leave'. Pretty much all the women I knew in those days had the same issue. Nice to know things have changed, finally. It is LONG overdue. There's a reason why female senior advisers and licensee executives in their 40s and 50s with 20 years + experience are scarce.

In saying that, there's something very odd about two MEN talking about what women want as clients and as their team members. Why did you do this? Your staff member being involved in the piece to talk about the encouragement she received from you, and how then you supported her career goals and then your business logic behind it would have a lot more resonance. Especially with women. Because frankly, this piece reads as mansplaining at its finest. I feel sure this wasn't your intention, though.

Imagine if it was the other way round, how enthusiastic would you be to see two women in an article discussing what men want as clients and team members, and you being totally left out from the picture?

Asking for a (female) friend....

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