Catching up with Rhiannon Robinson of Finance Women February 2016
Rhiannon Robinson is the founder of Finance Women, a fee-for-service financial planning business for women. Intrigued by her point of difference, Industry Moves asked Rhiannon to shed some light on why she felt there was a need for a different approach for female clients. We also found out what she has planned for her business going forward.
- Why did you feel the need to set up a financial planning business for women?
I wanted to provide a service where women could feel confident that they would receive trustworthy practical financial advice, allowing them to be supported and empowered in their pursuit of financial security and independence.
- How have you set your business up?
While I started the business as a sole operator to get it off the ground, it has been with a larger picture in sight. As the business grows I hope it will become an employer of choice for female financial planners who want to work in a supportive culture with flexible work patterns. By designing the business with these things in mind, I think we will be able to overcome the obstacles that many women face working in an industry which is dominated by men working full-time. Instead of struggling to thrive in an environment not built for them, my belief is that the wealth of personal and professional experience that these women will bring to our client base will be priceless
- When giving financial advice - how do women’s needs differ from men’s?
The cultural conditioning of men vs women means that you need to pay more attention to giving women confidence. Women are more likely to feel embarrassed or ashamed of their financial situation if it is not going well and we need to respect and respond to those emotions sensitively. While it can be tempting to jump in and highlight the gaps in a person’s financial affairs and fix everything, it’s important to understand that hope, education and empowerment are just as valuable in a person’s financial security as the missing piece of life insurance.
- How do your services differ to those offered by male financial advisers?
I think the difference comes from how we approach the discussion and the life experiences we bring. We try to explore with clients the personal ambitions, strengths, opportunities and constraints in a non-judgemental way. I have always seemed to confound peoples’ assumptions, particularly as an ambitious career woman, studying for an MBA, while being mother of three. Giving people the opportunity to explore the possibilities in front of them is really important and allowing them to make the decisions that fit their lifestyle. The other difference is in the practicality of the advice. While we cover all the usual areas of a financial plan, we are also prepared to go deeper into helping our clients improve fundamental skills that influence broader financial well-being. Our financial plans have included everything from finding scholarships for retraining, encouraging them to join LinkedIn to improve their career prospects down to practical advice on how to reduce grocery cost
- Who do you most admire and how have they influenced your life/work?
Richard Branson’s ability to develop a clear brand and business strategy is second to none and his honesty in speaking about risk taking and failure has been something to learn from. When building my brand - Finance Women - I tried to gain the consistency in message and fit to target market that his brand often achieves. On a more personal level Professor Amanda Sinclair from the Melbourne Business School has been incredibly influential in my career. I took her course in leadership. The work she did with us helped us to appreciate both the barriers and the opportunities for leaders who don’t quite fit the traditional mould. Of all the study I have undertaken over the years it is her teaching and practices that I draw on a day to day basis.