Professional Adviser magazine has revealed the shortlists for the 2020 Women in Financial Advice Awards and this features our very own April Ritchie for Financial Adviser of the Year - Scotland & NI, here she tells us here what this means to her and why she thinks it is so important to encourage more women into financial services and into the advice sector.
I have been working in financial services for over 21 years and have seen many changes during that time. I love what I do and am proud of the trust that my clients have in me to help them fulfill their financial goals.
I was humbled to be nominated for the women in financial advice awards, and rather taken aback to be shortlisted given there are so many entries, 1,300 in total across the categories. While it is commonplace for some women to encounter challenges, I have been fortunate in my career not to have felt any discrimination or to have hit a glass ceiling, rather I have always been judged on my own achievements. As with most people I like to be appreciated and recognised for all that I do and so I am proud of reaching the shortlist.
For me, this is not just a personal achievement, it is also recognition for Mattioli Woods and shows how diverse the business is and how everyone is treated equally.
I joined Mattioli Woods in Aberdeen when Clydesdale decided to close their wealth division in 2013, having spent 19 years with the Bank. At the time I was a new Mum and Mattioli Woods gave me the flexibility to achieve my life goals both at home and in the office. This proved to me that Mattioli Woods was the type of caring business it is and that they look to the future, it is a business that has vision and diversity at its core.
I have been lucky to have had great mentors during my career that have and continue to encourage me to be what I am today. One of the most enjoyable parts of my role outside of my client interaction is becoming a Training & Competence supervisor, this gives me the opportunity to pass on my knowledge and experience to help others succeed in their career.
Life as a consultant is very rewarding however it does come with challenges, never more so than in these unprecedented times. It is a real balancing act working from home. We were lucky that we got up and running very quickly and could as a result continue to provide our clients with the high level service that they are used to, even if there is the odd hiccup when my daughter or husband walks behind me when I am on a video conference call. In a way this has made us closer with our clients, they are facing the same challenges and it can be easier to break the ice with new clients when this happens.
I am proof that a working mum can be a successful consultant, living by the mantra that if "you do what you have always done, you will get what you always got".
We wish April the very best of luck on 8 October when the winners will be announced – but in our eyes – she has already won.