Speaking to FTAdviser, Jordan Laight, a paraplanner at BRI Wealth, said although things have improved since she entered the profession five years ago, the lack of female advisers is something that adds to the pressure of building a career in advice.
Data from the Financial Conduct Authority has shown that 84 per cent of advisers are men, while only 8 per cent of advisers are under the age of 30.
“In my time, I’ve perhaps met five women advisers compared to 50 male advisers. So it can be daunting to think ‘well you’re not going to fit the norm of an adviser’, and that is something I used to stress about,” Laight admitted.
You have to be really confident in what you are saying and how you come across
Now 24 years old, Laight landed a job in financial services straight after completing her A-levels.
“I did consider university but I wasn’t 100 per cent sure what I wanted to do. All I knew was that I wanted to do something with numbers,” Laight said.
Initially, she wanted to go down the accountancy route, but when a relative who worked in the advice profession told her about it she decided to give it a go.
“I had never really heard about it before and didn’t know a lot about it,” Laight told FTAdviser.
But after starting out in an admin role with a Bromsgrove-based firm, she “dipped her foot” into the world of paraplanning and knew it was for her.
Laight then completed her diploma in financial planning with the Chartered Insurance Institute before moving into a paraplanning role with her current firm, BRI Wealth.
“When I joined BRI they were very supportive of career progression and I felt like I was in the right place to push on with the exams and complete the level 6 in financial planning,” Laight said.
Looking ahead, Laight plans to become a financial adviser but said she is glad she is getting a grounding in paraplanning first.
“I didn’t want to step into that role until I was comfortable with what might get thrown at me. I do feel like I am there knowledge-wise, so now it is time for me to work on actual client interaction and that side of things,” Laight said.
“It’s the soft-skills side that I need to work on, but it is definitely something that is in my plans.”
There is a view that financial advisers are very hard-faced and serious