Christine Lusher (left), Alisdair Barr and Illiana Jain

Flexibility needs to be front and centre to attract women to the profession, according to a panel discussion.

A BT-hosted morning tea celebrating International Women’s Day heard during a panel discussion that part of what is holding back gender equity in advice is the perception the industry isn’t flexible.

“Traditionally, financial planning was seen as you’ve got to be a full-time financial planner, work 60 hours, be available to your clients to meet them at six o’clock at night, but that’s not true,” Lush Wealth financial planner Christine Lusher said.

“It’s just about rephrasing the work and that women can do it and it can be a flexible job.”

Lusher’s firm has four support staff who are women, and she said it was important to help entice female support staff into taking on advice roles.

“I’m very passionate about encouraging women to be financial planners, so encouraging students or people starting off their career to actually consider financial planning as a career,” Lusher said.

“There’s a lot of female lawyers, accounts – there should be an equal amount of female financial planners well.”

Lusher said she predominately hires part-time employees who are all working mums.

“I find the benefits of a working mum is they do want to get out, they want to come in and work, they want the brain exercise of coming to work every day and they love the flexibility,” Lusher said.

“It’s a win for me: I get people at their peak every day they come in, do their job, it’s not eight hours they have to drag themselves through, they’re very energised for that period of time. Our clients relate to them as well because a lot of our clients are balancing work-life or mum-life.”