The Bay Street I experienced 39 years ago when I started in the investment business was a very different place from what it is today.
Lunch meetings often took place at a local pub over a few drinks. In the workplace, there were ashtrays on every desk and people smoked cigarettes freely. There were no computers – business was conducted primarily by phone and brokers often had several lines going at once. And when trades went awry, people threw furniture … and the language, well, it was colourful! Power primarily rested with the males who made the most money. Offensive behaviour was prevalent and the sentiment was "if you didn’t like it, you could leave".
As a young woman in this environment, I quickly developed a thick skin and my sense of humour was very useful. The only currency that was measured and valued was financial results. So with this understanding of the "system", I knew I would need to drive my "production" to thrive in the business I had grown to love. That meant I would need to build a solid book of business to protect myself from male decision-makers with the power to influence how much I earned in a year.
It took a lot of hard work, but determination and commitment helped me realize success – and the caring long-lasting relationships I developed with clients led to the most rewarding career I could have imagined. Today, I look after many families, managing the wealth of multiple individuals across generations – most of whom have been with me for over 25 years. This is both my passion and reward.
I’ve succeeded by way of strong organization and communications skills, in-depth business knowledge and a collaborative sales approach built on trust and transparency.
The investment advisor role has evolved into one particularly suited to women who are still by and large tasked with balancing the needs of work, home and family as it offers a great deal of flexibility along with financial reward.
I encourage all women with an interest in helping people reach their personal and financial goals to consider becoming an advisor. While the role remains challenging, the rewards can be immeasurable.
Nancy Bowman is an Investment Advisor and Portfolio Manager with iA Securities. The opinions expressed herein are those of Ms. Bowman alone and may not be aligned with the opinions and values of iA Securities or any of its affiliated companies. iA Securities is a trademark and business name under which Industrial Alliance Securities Inc. operates. Industrial Alliance Securities Inc. is a member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund and the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada.