Naomi Alletson and Ceara Keene

Women have brought greater use of soft skills to financial advice, highlighting the benefit of opening the industry up to diversity according to the Financial Planning Association.

While the advice sector is slowly improving its ratio of women to men, there are still concerns about its ability to retain female advisers due to the onerous regulatory environment that prevents working flexibility.

Speaking at an FPA seminar celebrating International Women’s Day Tuesday morning, Naomi Alletson, FPA Toowoomba chapter chair, said at her practice it’s the soft skills that separate her from the male colleague she works with.

“I’m very open and honest and clients love that,” Alletson said. “The other main planner we have is a lot more guarded.”

The male planner had been working at the practice for two years and Alletson said clients “wanted to get more out of him”.

“I had to poke him to get himself to open up because they trust us implicitly and it’s that two-way street.”

Alletson said it’s important to remember “it’s not always about the money”, and using soft skills is a strength for female financial advisers.

“I become part of their lives and they become part of mine. The conversation starts with ‘how’s the family? How are the kids?’”

Ceara Keene, advice and compliance manager at Tynans, agreed and added that women in leadership roles better considered the nurturing and team building aspect.

“Having gone through two years of disruption from a team point of view, [there’s value in] having people in your organisation within the smaller teams to convey messages like making sure people are okay,” Keene said.

“That’s a significant contribution to the teamwork and culture. There are so many things that are non-tangibles.”

Keene said the firm used a “balanced scorecard” that measured revenue generated along with contributions to culture.

“We do a culture survey and that gets measured against multiple different areas or roles within the business.”