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Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress – International Women’s Day  

This International Women’s Day inspired article follows a special edition of the BTS Career Pathways Podcast hosted by Alex Langhorn, Head of Business Support with special guest Gee Foottit, Senior Manager at St. James’s Place.

Alex and Gee discussed the work that’s being done in Financial Services to improve gender inclusive practices for both professionals and clients, and why this is just a relevant in 2024 as ever before. Read a summary of their discussion below or listen to the podcast is full here.

Meet Gee

As a Senior Manager at St. James’s Place, Gee’s role sees her wearing many different hats. Her role is primarily part of the Financial Adviser Academy team, in the recruitment and marketing division, specifically working with people new to the industry.

Gee notes “my key focus is the people that haven’t ever done this before and that’s quite exciting because it could be anybody and we don’t really put any restraints on ourselves in terms of the types of audiences that we find”. 

As BTS recently welcomed St. James’s Place Financial Adviser Academy to the Careers Zone as a Featured Company, Gee also highlights “we’re hoping to find some great talent from your community”.

Invest in Women Accelerate Progress - International Women's Day
Invest in woman: Accelerate progress

Invest in Woman: Accelerate Progress

This year, the United Nations launched a campaign theme which is aptly named “Invest in Woman: Accelerate Progress”.

Alex notes, this year’s campaign “…brings a spotlight on the importance of what the UN term “woman’s economic stability” and a core part of that is implementing gender responsive financing”.

The UN view economic stability as a key indicator of gender inclusion.

The campaign runs all year and you can find out more about it on the UN Women website.

Gender inclusion in Financial Services

“There is still room for improvement” when it comes to gender equality in Financial Services, states Gee. We can see this from looking at the percentage of financial advisers within SJP who are women. “We have around 19-20% women financial advisers in our partnership, which is made up of just over 4,800 individuals.”

So, how can we start to see a bigger change in these statistics? 

Gee notes, to redress the balance we would actually need to see a women only intake onto the programme for the next 2 years! Whilst drastic action of this sort is not the solution, the number of female financial advisers is starting to rise with academies like the St. James’s Place Financial Adviser Academy attracting women to the profession.

By 2025, in the UK, there will be more women who will be millionaires than men.
Financial education

What makes Financial Advice a positive career option for women?

Gee highlights, “by 2025 in the UK, there will be more women who will be millionaires then men”. With this being said, women absolutely make good advisers!

“Women tend to come with natural attributes that suit the role, such emotional intelligence and empathy with the client”, Gee says, “and often, a female looking for financial advice would prefer to seek a female adviser to work with.”

We know from research conducted by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) that one of the reasons why women don’t seek financial advice is due to low confidence and low knowledge about financial matters. Gee responds, “financial education and improving people’s financial literacy from a young age is so important and something that SJP does very much support by providing opportunities to both employees and our partnership to be out in the community, out in schools delivering financial education”.

The importance of financial education

“The more we can create those safe spaces for people to come and have a conversation with us the better”, says Gee.

SJP work with charities such as RedSTART Educate who create financial education opportunities and learning programmes in schools in the UK. They also go back to the schools each year to measure the progress, making the learning easily stick. 

Gee notes “there are financial education modules that anybody at SJP can do, whether your an adviser or employee”. This is a fantastic opportunity to develop financial education from the get go.

Alex agrees, “this obviously starts at a young age, breaking down gender stereotypes and working with communities who perhaps haven’t accessed financial education before is a really important thing for the sector as a whole”.

How does the St. James's Place Financial Adviser Academy support women into the profession?

“I actually think Financial Advice pioneered flexible working years before it was even a thing”, Gee says.  The SJP partnership is made up of 2,500+ individual businesses who are running their business the way they want to run it and have “partnered with SJP to do their research, their due diligence, their systems, their marketing support and all the things SJP do on their behalf, which means they can spend their time in front of clients”. 

As a mother to a daughter, Gee notes you can choose the hours you want to work and it’s a very flexible career. “If I needed to do the school run as a financial adviser, I just don’t book a meeting at that time and I can do my administration in the evenings after she’s gone to bed”.

SJP organise events for female advisers each year, where woman can feel at ease in an environment with a “like-me” shared experience.

“We use the phrase BBQ which stands for Be Brave Quicker, we have a philosophy of failing fast and learning from it”, says Gee.


Listen to the full Podcast “Invest In Woman: Accelerate Progress – International Women’s Day”.

Gee also runs a podcast called “The Switch” which is well worth subscribing to.

Find out more about the opportunities with St. James’s Place Financial Adviser Academy, check out their Featured Company Profile page. 

Read inspirational stories from two real-life career changers “From Investment Banking to Financial Advice” and “From Banking to Financial Advice”.

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