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FEATURES

SPECIAL REPORT

MICHELLE CONNOLLY Vice-president, tax, retirement and estate planning CI Investments Years in the industry: 9

Overseeing tax, retirement and estate planning for CI Investments, Michelle Connolly always has Canada’s demographic shift close to mind. She

meets families and households of various types, which drives home the fact that there’s no such thing as a ‘regular family’ anymore. “Families are not defined as husband, wife and 2.2 children anymore – there are same-sex couples, second marriages and step-families,” she says. “Thus, any and all who make wealth decisions have to have their needs heard and addressed.” Increasingly, the advisors families seek counsel from are women. Recruiting more female advisors in an attempt to create greater gender diversity in wealth management is still a problem, but, Connolly says, it’s one that is being addressed. “Over the last 18 months, I have been involved in several focus groups to assist wealth advisors in identifying the nuances that come with recognizing diversity,” she says. “One of my favourite advisor events is Women, Wealth and Wisdom. We have hosted 12 of these events across the country, and the feedback from attendees was loud, clear

DONA EULL-SCHULTZ President, Leon Frazer & Associates Years in the industry: 35

President of portfolio manager Leon Frazer & Associates, Dona Eull-Schultz has been in the wealth management industry for 35 years, and in her view, the industry is much more diverse now than when she started her career in the 1980s. She ties this to different attitudes toward money, specifically how it is managed within households. “A March 2017 CIBC poll among Canadian women who hold investments found that 92% say they are either the primary or joint financial decision-maker in their household,” she says. “Investment firms recognize this demographic and have smartly encouraged female representation in their workforces.” While both the government and the

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“Families are not defined as husband, wife and 2.2 children anymore. Any and all who make wealth decisions have to have their needs heard” and resoundingly positive.” These events involve a select group of female advisors spending the afternoon together, discussing technical and market topics, imparting best-practice tips, and sharing how they dealt with particular client situations. “Female advisors who were direct competitors with each other from a geographical perspective were sharing with each other,” Connolly says. “The only request from attendees was, ‘When is the next one?’”

regulators have introduced measures to encourage diversity, in Eull-Schultz’s opinion, positive changes must happen naturally. If the market dictates the need for more female advisors, then companies will respond in kind. “It is about good business practices,” she says. “Companies need to formalize goals in hiring practices, provide mentoring, have flexible work hours to accommodate families and provide clear paths for advancement.” While wealth management is going through a transition at the moment, Eull-Schultz is confident about the future. She believes that as long as there are Canadians with assets, there will be a place for experts who know how to manage those assets. “Clients will increasingly value and rely upon the judgment, experience and long-term strategic thinking in their investment advisors,” she says.

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Wealth Professional 5.08  
Wealth Professional 5.08  

Women of Influence 2017