With the start of the golfing season and the tax year what better time to chat to two of our supporters, financial advisers Catherine Scard and Jennie Bailey from Lester Brunt
Catherine and Jennie, who have a combined experience of 30 years in the finance industry, give us their views on work, pensions and balance in a traditionally male-led workplace.
What has been your personal experience as a woman in finance?
Catherine: I think it is very male-dominated but I feel women absolutely have a place, we can offer something different to men.
Jennie: It’s always been a challenge as it is seen as a male-dominated role and in the early years, I had to work harder just to get people to realise that I knew what I was talking about. More and more of my clients now say they like the fact that I am a woman, as I have a different attitude to their circumstances and can look at things differently.
How did you prepare for career breaks? Was it something you thought about?
Catherine: I don’t think it was something I really thought about, I wanted children and knew that my finances could take a hit due to it. I prepared by saving some of my income every month for when statutory maternity pay took over.
Jennie: I prepared early as I knew I wanted to have a year off. I saved money so when my maternity pay stopped after 13 weeks I could pay myself my equivalent salary
When did you start thinking ‘I need to plan’?
Catherine: I think when I became pregnant and thought ‘oh no can I really live on £500 a month?’
Jennie: I started to plan as soon as I found out I was pregnant.
How did career breaks affect your pension contribution?
Catherine: I think I lost about £12,000 over two maternity leaves. I then went back only three days a week, so it would have affected it even more.
Jennie: It didn’t really affect mine, as I was in the final salary scheme so kept accruing
What is your advice on pension contribution?
Jennie: It’s never too soon, as if you start early, you won’t have to pay as much in. It’s also never too late to think about it, as we all know life gets in the way.
How do you strike a work-life balance?
Catherine: I find it very difficult as my children are still very young. It feels like I have many balls to juggle but I want to be a good role model for my children and show them that by working hard, you can achieve what you want to in life. I love a holiday so work to be able to afford one each year.
Jennie: That’s a tricky one. So many of my clients feel like they know my family, as I talk about them. You have to understand that when you have a family they have to come first at times, which is why we do what we do. Putting the laptop and phone away at the weekend and evenings is important but I will always find time to see clients when they need to be seen.
Who has been the most influential person for you, in your career so far?
Catherine: My colleagues; Julie and Jennie. From day one Julie, was the financial adviser when I joined the bank. I knew I wanted to be a Julie from the way she was with clients and her empathetic nature.
When I got the job as an adviser in 2010, Jennie was on hand to help me through my exams. I also worked with her at the bank and now at Lester Brunt.
Jennie: The most influential person for me in recent years has been Julie Copland, who is also our compliance officer. She has always been really supportive and understanding, as she also has a family and has juggled everything too. She is the reason I am at Lester Brunt and has taught me so much about advice and client relationships over the years. I will always be grateful.
What is the future of women in finance?
Catherine: I think the future is bright, there are more and more female advisers and to me, this can only grow. I believe having a female presence compliments a practice and allows us to bring a different set of opinions to the table.
Jennie: It can only get better as more companies look at the dynamic of their business and more clients want to give them choice. With more women controlling the wealth in their households, this will continue to grow.
Catherine and Jennie have over three decades of combined financial experience and spend a lot of their time as advisers helping women achieve their financial goals.
Within the female golfing community, Catherine and Jennie can share their passion and advocate the benefits of financial protection and the value and importance of financial planning. Jennie has recently started golfing lessons and we'll be documenting her progress in the coming months.
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Lester Brunt Wealth Management is an Appointed Representative of and represents only St. James's Place Wealth Management plc (which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority) for the purpose of advising solely on the group's wealth management products and services, more details of which are set out on the group's website http://www.sjp.co.uk/products. The 'St. James's Place Partnership' and the titles 'Partner' and 'Partner Practice' are marketing terms used to describe St. James's Place representatives.
Lester Brunt Wealth Management is a trading name of Lester Brunt Wealth Management Ltd.