The only female to make it into the top 10 of MPA’s Top 100 Brokers in 2019 has used International Women’s Day to encourage more females to enter broking, saying the industry is on the cusp of a stronger relationship with the marketplace and it is important for women to claim their place in the growth.
Sarah Thomson, senior lending manager of Loan Market Geelong, came in at number seven, jumping from 36th position the year before. Speaking to MPA for the Top 100 listing, Thomson said the industry has come long way in terms of gender equality.
As we prepare for Best Interests Duty to come into place later this year, Thomson now says she sees a real opportunity for the customers to truly see and appreciate what the vast majority of brokers have been offering for a long time: outstanding customer service.
“As brokers’ value offering and commitment to clients’ best interests gains more profile in the marketplace, more people will be entrusting brokers to be their trusted adviser across their financial needs,” she says.
“Whether it’s the legal profession, IT or broking, I think it’s really important for any industry to have a healthy mix of women and men to service the marketplace. I honestly don’t think there is no better place to grow your career as a woman than in broking.”
Thomson’s encouragement comes as the MFAA reported late last year that there had been a decline in women working as brokers. The decline has become part of a protracted trend.
As part of the MFAA report, 34% of women believed there were no barriers to them succeeding in the industry. In contrast, 59% of men felt they were unhindered in achieving success.
Thomson has been a member of Loan Market’s Leading Ladies group for several years and says that any new women to the industry should know there are initiatives in place like this to help and support them.
The group has a combination of events and networking sessions which allow members to share their knowledge to help professional development. It also includes quarterly events including retreats, wine and cheese nights and an annual conference.
“I remember going to my first event and thinking: ‘Ok, what’s this all about?’ But as soon as it started, I was amazed at the knowledge sharing and questions the women asked that may not have spoken up in a room full of men. From then on it cemented the need for these events in my mind and I’ve been an advocate ever since,” she says.
“It also is a great community to be a part of when you are new to the industry or transitioning your business to the next level. If women are thinking about broking as a career, they can be assured that there’s support out there.”
Loan Market’s executive director, Andrew McNaughton, is one of several women in senior leadership roles at Loan Market and said the Leading Ladies group was “an integral part of the culture”.
“In 2017 we initiated the Leading Ladies of Loan Market for female entrepreneurs to come together to drive growth and profitability in their businesses. Since then the initiative has swelled to touch hundreds of women in our network and beyond,” she explains.
“Leading Ladies celebrates the contributions of top performers like Sarah, right through to women who are only starting out their careers. International Women’s Day is a reminder that there are support networks like Leading Ladies in our industry which enables women to take their careers to the next level.”