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Women in Finance Charter

Unividual's commitment to gender balance in financial services

Striving for gender balance in financial services

Unividual is  one of just a few businesses in the UK who are signed up to the Women in Finance Charter. Gender balance in financial services has been readily written about over the last few years. In 2015 the Government asked Jayne-Anne Gadhia, former CEO of Virgin Money, to lead a review into the representation of women in senior managerial roles in financial services. The Review, “Empowering Productivity: Harnessing the talents of women in financial services” found that women made up only 14% of Executive Committees in the Financial Services sector. In response to the recommendations in that review, HM Treasury launched the Women in Finance Charter to encourage the financial services industry to improve gender balance in senior management. The Charter now has more than 400 signatories covering 950,000 employees across the sector.

Why we support the Women In Finance Charter

The Women in Finance Charter reflects Unividual’s aspiration to see gender balance across financial services firms. Those signing up to the Charter commit to working together to build a balanced and fair industry and pledge to be the best businesses in the sector. In signing up to the Charter, Lewis Baxter, London Financial Planner and Director of Unividual said: “We set ourselves the target of ensuring, as a minimum, 33.3% of our senior management team is made up of women by January 2021. We are delighted and proud to confirm we achieved this target well in advance of our target date. Our aim is to now ensure we maintain this minimum representation on our senior management team moving forward and continue to increase our gender diversity in other areas of the business. We are still yet to have our first female financial adviser. This is something we have been focusing on since the launch of our in-house financial planning school, Unicademy. It can take 3 years for an employee to train up and we are confident we will have our first female financial adviser by the end of 2023.”

 

Meet Cherise, a financial adviser in training

Cherise, 22, enrolled on to Unividual’s Unicademy in 2020 during the COVID pandemic. She proudly speaks of her part to play at Unividual:

“I studied Financial Economics at University of Leicester. The main reason for wanting to become a financial adviser was because I wanted to provide clients with high-quality advice that could make a difference in their lives. However, having these aspirations meant that I was a young female entering a male-dominated industry. Being aware of the gender imbalance makes me more determined to show that as a young woman I can achieve just as much as anyone else and I am definitely facing that challenge head-on. One of the reasons I joined Unividual was to bring more of a gender balance to the company. When I do become a qualified adviser, clients would be presented with the choice of having a female adviser.”

“Young women like myself, may have the perception that most financial advisers have a stereotypical ‘alpha-male’ nature. Although that is absolutely not the case with any of Unividual’s advisers, it may be the reason that some people do not seek advice in the first place. Therefore, I strive to break down those stereotypical barriers to make the industry a more approachable place.”

“The overall goal for myself is to become a financial adviser, achieving this in a heavily male-dominated industry can be nerve wracking, but less so when you have the learning and support from a company like Unividual.  My training program will take 3 years from start to finish, I have already started my Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning. By the end of the program, I will be a Chartered Financial Planner and one of the most highly qualified financial advisers in the country. I hope to inspire other women in our business to consider this as a career option.”

Hear from Dame Jayne-Anne Gadhia, Government Women in Finance Champion

“Even amidst the challenges posed by the pandemic, British firms continue to recognise and prioritize the need to improve gender balance. We celebrate the firms that have met their targets this year, as well as those that continue to actively work towards achieving gender equality. Diverse and inclusive businesses are often those with the best workplace culture, the best employee retention rates, and the most sustainable returns. We also recognise the success that comes with senior accountability for gender diversity. When this matters at the very top of the organisation, and when measurable targets are set, results will be achieved.”

Find out more about Unividual’s strategy for improving gender balance in financial services or download the full list of the 2020 Women in Finance Charter signatories

Unividual's Strategy For Gender Balance

Marketing Director of Unividual, Cherie-Anne Baxter, 37, said: “One of the hardest obstacles our industry has is making financial advice an attractive career option to women because of the perception that a financial adviser is a role traditionally taken up by men, just like on the opposite side nursing is traditionally taken up by women. When Lewis and I established Unicademy it was with the objective to combat the threat the industry has of dwindling numbers of financial advisers. When we started to grow the business, we quickly found out that we needed to widen the pool of applicants. We started speaking to people about why they don’t apply for finance roles and to those already working in the industry. This feedback meant we could overhaul our recruitment process to ensure our language and imagery was inclusive to a wide cross section of society. We adapted job descriptions, adverts, the website and much more. The recruitment process was then adjusted to ensure people could shine by introducing Experience Days inside our offices.  One of our Chartered Financial Planners, Simon Jones, also made a film “Financial Services At Work” showcasing why our people love working in financial services which featured a wide cross section of staff working for us.”

“Being awarded a place on the Women in Finance Charter is not only a reward to our hard work but demonstrates our commitment to gender balance. It gives women the reassurance that at Unividual they can have a prosperous, fair career. They can push themselves and still be in a competitive environment but for reasons that aren’t gender based.”

Please get in touch if you would like to find out about Unividual’s financial planning services.  If you are keen to enquire about careers with Unividual on our financial planning training academy we would welcome your contact. Alternatively check out our case studies on how financial advice betters people’s financial position and wellbeing.

 

Author: Cherie-Anne Baxter

Editor: Cherie-Anne Baxter

Date: 09/09/2021

Figures are correct as of the above date

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