FPI and Women in Finance: Working together to transform the industry

By Janice Roberts

Women have so much to offer the financial planning profession. A recent Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by the Financial Planning Institute of Southern Africa NPC (FPI) and the Women in Finance Network (WIFN) paves the way for a brighter and more inclusive future.

Kim Potgieter of Chartered Wealth Solutions

International studies show that women already hold approximately 32% of global wealth, and this figure is expected to increase to an astounding 70% within two generations. But still, the vast majority of this country’s financial planners are male. As part of its quest to bring the myriad benefits of financial planning to all South Africans, the FPI says that it’s wholly committed to both gender and race. “The #MeToo movement – culminating in Hervey Weinstein’s recent 23-year prison sentence – has shattered the patriarchy and marks the dawn of a more equal society.”

WIFN was established in 2013 as “a neutral forum where females in financial services could meet, share experiences and mentor each other,” says founder, Kim Potgieter of Chartered Wealth Solutions. She explains that “women work really well in this industry because they connect with clients uniquely.”

For two years, FPI worked jointly with the WIFN to champion a cause which is close to both parties’ hearts, says FPI CEO Lelane Bezuidenhout. “We are now thrilled to formalise the relationship through an MOU which will see FPI take concrete measures to increase the representation of women across the profession.”

Having more women around will be beneficial for everyone, as research shows that women tend to make excellent financial planners. At the risk of generalisation, women are:

  • More patient than men. This means that they are prepared to wait for the long-term growth of their investments as opposed to fixating on monthly returns.
  • Masterful at relationships. Any successful financial planner will tell you that a large part of the job is managing family relationships, especially when it comes to the transfer of intergenerational wealth.
  • Better investors. A recent UK study tracked 2,800 men and women who were using the same investment platform. At the end of three years, the women had outperformed the men by 1.8%. Another similar study showed that after 30 years, the gap between men and women would be 25%!
  • More caring. Anyone who’s been involved in handling a massive estate will know the key role philanthropy plays in the transfer of family wealth – and women understand philanthropy innately.

“The CFP® marque is the international gold standard of financial planning,” says Potgieter, who is very excited to sign an MOU which stipulates that both FPI and WIFN will take bold action to ensure that more South African women aspire to this internationally recognised designation.  “Having more women around will also be very good for male financial planners,” she stresses. “Diversity breeds resilience and excellence.”

Bezuidenhout ends by adding that “The MOU, therefore, celebrates women in finance, supporting each other via robust mentorship, peer-to-peer conversations and sharing of ideas & best practices.  It is indeed a great moment for both Kim and me as I know we have been trying for some time to get the MOU of the ground.  I look forward to great things to come from this brilliant initiative.”

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