" When I decided to join this aspect of financial services, I saw that there was a gap in the market for women, especially of the younger generation and of ethnic minorities. "
In this series, we speak to the winners of our inaugural Financial Reporter Women's Recognition Awards about what the awards mean to them and how we can achieve gender equality within our industry.
FR: What does winning a Women’s Recognition Award mean to you and why are awards like this so important for the industry?
This award means very much to me. When I decided to join this aspect of financial services (I previously worked for investment banks and similar financial institutions in various roles), I saw that there was a gap in the market for women, especially of the younger generation and of ethnic minorities. I am proud to be setting an example for women in similar positions like me, who are finding it difficult to break ground in financial advisory, who do not really understand much about the industry or who want to see what opportunities are available to them should they take the leap. These awards are necessary because female advisers are on the rise and we should be recognised for the contribution we make to the industry.
FR: Tell us more about your role in financial services.
I feel I am more than just a mortgage adviser and often introduce myself as a property finance specialist. As well as advising on both residential and buy-to-let mortgages, I also guide my clients through bridging loans, commercial loans, second charges and further advances. We have fixed several property problems over the last five years and I pride myself on being solution and results orientated. Most of our clients are property investors (experienced or aspiring) and this works as well as commercially it encourages repeat business but also means that we build a long-term relationship with our clients, enabling trust, their empowerment and continuous referrals. I also speak regularly at various events, and I also have a development business and serviced accommodation business. As a property entrepreneur, I believe I provide additional, holistic support to my client bank.
FR: What are you most proud of in your career so far?
Right now, it would be winning the Mortgage Adviser of the Year award at the Financial Reporter Women’s Recognition Awards. If you had asked me before the honour of that award, it would have been growing my business by more than 500% in the first three years. That required a lot of hard work, a supportive organisation and a committed team so I am proud of the team effort as well as my general leadership. The mentoring at Foster Denovo, my advisory firm, has been great and I am surrounded by great advisers who produce excellent results and encourage a culture of achievement. I am very excited about what else we can achieve.
FR: What one change would you like to see in financial services in the near future?
The industry is changing fast and for the better. I would like to see more women in leadership positions. I hope the industry continues to foster a culture where families can thrive by enabling both men and women to share family obligations and employment opportunities. This is one of the challenges I see in front of me but I also believe in being the change that you want to see.
FR: If you had one piece of advice for someone starting out in financial services, what would it be?
This advice is for people who are considering becoming self-employed advisers. Be resilient. Some days you are prouder than you ever thought possible and some days you will be wondering why you are putting yourself through the stress. However there are so many opportunities for personal development and deriving real pleasure from helping other people achieve their dreams. I have found something I am good at and truly believe in, and I look forward to maturing in this industry with grace like a fine wine.