Posted on 17/12/2020 by BWD
WOMEN in Wealth Management
An Interview with Graeme Winn
Thank you to everyone who has engaged with BWD and Graeme directly off the back of the previous Women in Wealth Management interviews (Click Here for Interview 1) (Click Here for Interview 2). The feedback has been really positive and we wanted to make sure we snuck another interview in before the Christmas festivities commence!
This weeks’ interview is with a passionate Investment Director based in London who has worked for some of the most prestigious Wealth Management firms in the UK. With over 15 years’ experience in front of clients, she has built herself a very strong reputation within the industry.
How did you enter the industry?
I joined a firm straight after university but started off with a more administration-based role before moving a couple of years later into an investment focussed position. I know that I wanted to do something in the industry and felt getting a job in a good company was more important than waiting for the ‘perfect’ graduate job.
What is it like to work in a male-dominated environment?
I personally don’t mind it at all. There have been a few slightly strange moments when you are in a meeting and are the only women but these tend to be rare. I have also always been lucky in that I’ve always worked with men who are respectful and know the limits in terms of what is banter and what is taking things too far. There have been moments that have been upsetting and frustrating but I think you just learn to deal with it. The worst thing for me is sometimes being excluded from invitations socially because it is a boys type event. Or going to something to find you are literally completely quiet as you are the only woman and the chat revolves around things like sport where you have no contribution to make!
How big of an issue is the lack of female Investment Managers/Wealth Managers?
It is an issue and it would be great to have more women in the industry. I think as more and more wealth moves into the hands of women and also down the generations it will become more of an issue unless companies can attract more female talent. Personally, I think the lack of diversification generally is more of an issue. No offense to those white privately educated men, but I think firms need a broader spectrum of investment managers generally.
Have you experienced any particular challenges or barriers to promotion?
I haven’t personally although I’ve probably held myself back a few times due to lack of confidence. Without generalising too much, this tends to be an area where we as women let ourselves down, and sometimes we need more of a male mentality when it comes to putting our hands up for roles that we aren’t 100% qualified for. On a slightly different angle, I have found that although being female won’t get you a new job, it will certainly get you an interview and this is of course a positive!
Have you ever faced discrimination (albeit subconsciously) during your career?
It did come to my attention in a previous role that some male colleagues at the same level were being paid more than me. I did bring it to the attention of management and nothing was done. Ultimately it became the catalyst for me leaving and moving onto a new role. If this hadn’t happened I don’t know what would have been the push to move on so in some ways I’m glad it happened.
How do you feel attitudes/actions have changed during your career towards gender inclusion?
I think the main point to make is that it is now on the radar. Five years ago it was a bit of a niche subject and not being discussed in the mainstream. Now everybody is talking about it and attempting to do something about it which is a good thing.
Do you agree with women-only events?
Very much so. I know this is an area for debate but I think they are essential. They are a safe space for women to network and share experiences and if they are mixed it changes the atmosphere. I don’t necessarily believe that all events should be female only but there is definitely a time and a place for it depending on the agenda and purpose of the event.
Do you feel that the recent changes in WFH and increased flexibility will help to give women more opportunities?
Yes, I do and I think this is a giant leap forward for the gender movement. We need to make flexible working less of a women’s issue and something that isn’t just available and acceptable for working mums. This will help to remove the stigma from working mums and hopefully make it more culturally acceptable for men and non-parents to also have flexibility. I’ve always thought it unfair that the rest of the workforce couldn’t really get involved in this as it was only seen as something that was needed for mums. However, I also think as women we need to help ourselves to an extent and make it happen by not taking on everything ourselves and getting partners to help with childcare/the school run/pickups, etc.
What do you enjoy most about being a woman in the industry?
This is a tricky one as I believe there are lots of reasons to enjoy it. If I had to choose one I would say the benefits and advantages of being a minority and standing out in a crowd. People always remember you if you are the only woman at a meeting or event!
What advice would you give younger women looking to enter the industry?
I would say find a firm and take any job you can to get through the door and then work your way up from there as there are always opportunities if you are looking. Also, I would say to ask other women for help. I have found that if you reach out people will give you their time and go out of their way to help you if they can.
It has been a pleasure speaking to somebody who is respected by so many people within the industry. Her opinions hold a lot of value and she has experienced significant change since when she started her career. The positive mindset she has helps her encourage change for the better and being able to see active change within recruitment to firms she has worked for has been great to see.
At BWD we realise that the markets we operate in are changing and that data is the new currency, the difference between a good firm and a great firm is the ability of its leaders to adapt quickly and make the right decisions about future strategy. The key to this is about having credible information about buying behaviours, product innovation, disruptive technology, and competitors. Because we are so embedded in the markets we operate in, we have the ability to provide this information in bespoke reports, allowing our clients to make the best-informed and optimal decisions for their businesses.
I hope this proves to be an interesting read for you as all and I look forward to conducting and releasing another interview in the coming weeks.