The Finance Brokers Association of Australia has marked International Women’s Day by committing to “develop plans” to encourage more women to join the financial services sector — specifically, broking.
Today (8 March) marks International Women’s Day, a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.
The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.
Earlier this week, Minister for Revenue and Financial Services and Minister for Women Kelly O’Dwyer told the National Press Club that women’s workforce participation has been rising since “late 2016” and is “now at a record high of 60.5 per cent”.
Ms O’Dwyer said: “Encouragingly, we are also seeing similar increases in workforce participation for Indigenous women, up from 51 per cent in 2006 to nearly 54 per cent in 2016.
“Australian women make extraordinary contributions every day, to their families, to their communities, to their workplaces and, ultimately, to our nation.”
However, Peter White, the executive director of the FBAA, has said that women are still a minority in financial services, and that the percentage of female brokers is “significantly below” the overall percentage of women in the financial services sector.
He said that while the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed that in the overall financial services sector women represent 55 per cent of the workforce, only 29 per cent of FBAA members are women.
Likewise, the Mortgage and Finance Association of Australia’s (MFAA) recent Industry Intelligence Survey (for the six months to March 2017) found that around 27 per cent of brokers were women.
Mr White said that the fact that less than a third of brokers are women may “reflect the origins of finance and mortgage broking”.
The FBAA CEO said: “Brokers visit people in homes after hours, which may not suit a lot of women. But times are changing.”
He added that technology now allows brokers to do interviews by video, but customers and lenders still prefer face-to-face encounters.
“Personal service will never be compromised by our industry because that’s what sets us apart and has contributed to brokers writing around 56 per cent of mortgages,” Mr White said.
“But it’s time to educate the market and lenders to use modern resources, which brings flexibility not only to clients but [also] to finance broking professionals.”
The head of the FBAA stated that the association “has been very proactive over recent years in attracting younger people to the industry”, noting that many of its Awards of Excellence winners were younger brokers, but he said that it would work to attract more women to the industry.
“Now we must accept that our industry is not on the radar for many women, so the FBAA is developing plans to change this,” Mr White said.
As part of Momentum Media’s continued dedication to the finance industry and gender equality, The Adviser — in partnership with its sister publications — last year launched its first Women in Finance Awards.
The flagship Women in Finance Awards, presented by Momentum Media together with principal partner NAB, saw more than 800 people gather at The Star in Sydney to celebrate the exceptional work of women within financial services.
Hosted by author, comedian and radio and TV personality Wendy Harmer, the event covered 28 individual and group performance awards, which showcased the women making a difference in accounting, banking, insurance, financial advice, funds management, mortgage broking and superannuation.
Last year’s winners included brokers Deslie Taylor from Mortgage Choice Ormeau (Mortgage and Finance Broker of the Year); Tracy Kearey, broker and director of the Home Loan Connexion (Principal of the Year); CAFBA’s Kathryn Bordonaro (Association Leader of the Year); and Marissa Schulze of Rise High Financial Solutions (Young Leader of the Year).
Register your interest to attend and receive more information on the Women in Finance Awards 2018 now.
[Related: The rise of female brokers]
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