Leadership Perspectives | 09.19.22
Why Representation Matters in Wealth Management
International Equal Pay Day is dedicated to raising awareness of unequal pay for women with aims of ultimately closing the gender pay gap. In 2022, women are earning $0.82 for every dollar a man makes. Female financial advisors earned 85% of what male advisors made in 2021. In addition to gender discrimination, women also experience disparities based on race, ethnicity and disability.
As an African-American woman, I have experienced compensation inequity. Wealth management has long been a male-dominated industry, and women remain underrepresented. Though our presence is slowly increasing over time, here’s where we are today in the United States, according to Zippia:
Although we are currently a minority in the industry, women have a significant role to play.
Remembering the Women Who Inspired Me
I began my career in 1996 as a newly licensed sales assistant, and I was surrounded by formidable women who acted as my role models. As an assistant, I supported my firm’s number one advisor, who was a woman. When I was promoted to operations, the operations manager was a woman. The statewide sales manager was a woman and leading from the top. Even the president of the firm was a woman.
These women gave me invaluable guidance, nurture, encouragement and, most of all, they showed me excellence. They knew they would always be expected to work harder and smarter than their male counterparts. Their scholarship would always be tested, any expression of emotion could be negatively judged and prioritizing family could be considered a weakness.
Yet these women transformed these adversities into opportunities that undeniably demonstrated — this is why we belong.
Representation Improves Service
Today, as the president of Frost Brokerage Services, Inc. and Frost Investment Services, my journey has been filled with experiences that amplify my commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. Representation matters — if you see it, you can believe it’s possible.
Our industry does life-changing work. This work helps people focus on what truly matters to them, while entrusting their financial resources to a professional. I always tell my team that our client relationships strive to make people’s lives better. The same emotional expressions that women long fought to suppress is the emotional quotient that fortifies many client relationships. The ability to empathize and connect can be the advantage that quickly earns a client’s trust. Client needs don’t always have business hours or logistical requirements, and that creates the flexibility that a lot of women need in order to balance life roles.
The horizon is bright for women. By 2030, women are expected to control much of the $30 trillion in assets from the generational wealth transfer. Female investors manage money differently than men, have a greater demand for advice, have lower financial self-confidence, and experience different effects from life events and focus on legacy. These factors can lead many women to seek a personal fit with their advisor, someone who looks like them or shares their experience. That doesn’t mean that every woman needs a female advisor, it means our industry should continue to make intentional strides towards equality in order to represent the clients we serve.
We've Come So Far — Let's Keep Going
While there is work to do, I am proud of this industry and my company for providing me the space to expand and flourish into who I believed I could become.
Women cannot unilaterally make progress without the support of male voices and the decision making of male leadership. International Equal Pay Day should remind all of us why we work to revolutionize a fundamentally flawed imbalance.
Women deserve the human right to expect that their compensation is commensurate with their prowess — not with their gender or race.
About Angela Holliday
As president of Frost Brokerage Services, Inc. and Frost Investment Services, LLC,
Angela Holliday has oversight and management responsibilities for both entities’
policies, resources, personnel and activities, including advisor teams, sales, operations
and compliance. She was named to the position in July 2017.
She attended the University of Texas at San Antonio. She holds FINRA Series 7, 24,
28, 63 and 99 securities licenses.
Her professional achievements were recognized in 2019 when she was named a Women’s Leadership Award honoree by the San Antonio Business Journal. Angela is a board member of the Clarity Child Guidance Center, a mental health treatment center for children and adults in South Texas. Previously, she served on the boards of YWCA San Antonio and Antioch Christian Academy.