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RBC ups efforts to recruit women as advisors

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RBC is doubling down on efforts to hire more women into its wealth management ranks.

The initiative is starting at the top, according to Brooke McGeehan who is one of two women financial advisors recently promoted to branch manager at the regional brokerage firm. The other woman promoted is Jackie Larson.

About 40% of RBC’s leadership team, which includes directors and corporate positions, is comprised of women, according to the firm. RBC says it has a record number of women serving as branch directors, although a spokeswoman at the firm would not specify the number.

“We have so many women in senior roles at a corporate level,” says McGeehan, who also serves as president of the RBC Wealth Management’s Women’s Association of Financial Advisors. “But I think it’s really exciting that now we’re shifting the focus a little and replicating that success in the field with financial advisors and branch directors.“

The wealth management industry has attempted to attract more women as well as minorities into the profession, which has long been dominated by white men. The CFP Board, for instance, recently held a diversity summit to highlight initiatives to broaden the appeal of the profession. And firms such as Raymond James have long had women advisor networks.

But the industry still has far to go. There are only about 47,000 women financial advisors — approximately 15% of the industry — according to a 2016 report by Cerulli Associates. And only 23% of CFP professionals are women, according to the CFP Board.

For its part, RBC renewed its efforts at the end of 2017. Its initiatives included a video series spotlighting stories of women at the firm in order to help recruit more advisors.

This year, about 39% of RBC’s advisor training program is female, according to the firm.

And once they join the firm, RBC’s women’s association strives to support them. Women hired as advisors at RBC become part of a mentoring circle during their first five years of employment, according to McGeehan. In addition, the association sends out a quarterly newsletter, hosts an annual conference and performs monthly conference calls.

Next year, the firm is rolling out in its 23 U.S. American complexes a new position that will serve as a delegate to the women’s association.

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“This was broadening our reach,” McGeehan says. “This was giving us more exposure to the field, and this was helping us connect to every woman in every branch.”

McGeehan has been at RBC for 13 years. She started as a business development consultant before becoming a financial advisor. Now, she is in charge of managing the firm’s branch in Princeton, New Jersey, which has six advisors.

Meanwhile, Larson, who has 26 years of industry experience, serves as director at the firm’s branch in Minnetonka, Minnesota.

McGeehan says recruiting will be a significant part of her role as branch director.

“We’re very much in growth mode,” McGeehan says.

Recently, the firm has grabbed two teams from Merrill Lynch and a team from Wells Fargo managing $1.4 billion in assets.

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