Tags: Women in Finance

Does the World Really Need Another Realtor?

 
If you recall, we published an article in June 2017 titled, Lawyers vs. Brokers. In that article we make mention of a then recent comment letter STA filed on FINRA’s lapsed license policy and how it contributes to what we believe is an unreasonable barrier of re-entry to the financial services industry for qualified individuals, particularly those who are primary childcare providers. Effective October 8, 2018, FINRA instituted the Securities Industry Essential (SIE) exam. The SIE exam carries attributes that address some of the concerns expressed in our letter, for example it remains effective for four (4) years after an individual leaves our industry. While much of the work on the new SIE exam was done prior to STA’s comments, we were and remain greatly appreciative that FINRA followed through on it.
 
FINRA is now requesting comment on enhancements to the Securities Industry Continuing Education Program (CE Program). Given how interconnected licenses to practice and continuing education requirements are towards obtaining and maintaining employment in the financial services industry, we applaud FINRA and the Continuing Education Council for soliciting opinions on potential enhancements. We especially want to give FINRA and the CE Council credit for acknowledging in the regulatory notice that the program enhancements being considered would allow individuals to maintain their qualification status following the termination of their registrations in an “effort to address the challenges that industry professionals face when attempting to re-enter the industry after an absence.”
 
Many of us know someone who made a positive impact on our industry and the investors we serve, who then left for an extended period of time to raise a family. When this individual looks to re-enter our industry they face an incredible challenge that is not found in other industries that require a license like: law, accounting or even medicine. Besides facing the burden of getting re-licensed, these individuals are uninformed on current practices because they are unable to take continuing education, again, something that is a unique to our industry. Consequently, many of these individuals seek employment elsewhere resulting in a loss of talent for our industry and many asking themselves, “Does the world really need another realtor?” (No disrespect, we love realtors.)
 

We especially want to give FINRA and the CE Council credit for acknowledging in the regulatory notice that the program enhancements being considered would allow individuals to maintain their qualification status following the termination of their registrations in an “effort to address the challenges that industry professionals face when attempting to re-enter the industry after an absence.”

 
This is an important issue for our industry and we hope you, and your firm, will take a moment to engage on it. STA will accept input from our Advisory Committees until Friday, November 2. If you’d like to offer your opinion, please reach to us at sta@securitytraders.org or better yet, file your remarks with FINRA directly!
 
The regulatory filing is FINRA Notice 18-26 and the deadline for comments is November 5, 2018. STA is currently working on its comment letter, which supports the CE Council pursuing a recommendation to allow previously registered individuals to maintain their qualification status while away from the industry.
 
See STA WIF October Newsletter here

Room at the top: Women in finance and investing

 

Room at the top: Women in finance and investing

by Lee McAdoo,  Managing Director
Investor Education at TD Ameritrade

 

Age 35. That’s about when I started to notice that I had fewer female peers.

It shouldn’t have surprised me. Women start to fall back largely due to having families and choosing to opt out of the workforce or scale back professionally just as men pull ahead in their careers. Not only does this shift have a significant impact on women’s personal finances and investing choices, but it also affects the number of women holding careers in financial services.

It can be disheartening to see talented colleagues leave the field. Individual choices—when it comes to work and life—can be difficult and are highly personal, but I do see opportunities for current financial executives, both female and male, to identify and nurture an interest in finance and investing. Why? It’s necessary in order to keep female talent, drive business forward and improve the industry as a whole.

My home life involves two busy daughters—ages seven and five—and a stay-at-home husband. It was my husband’s decision to leave his 20-year career in finance and stay at home with our kids in order to help me advance in my career and reach our goals. He’s supportive of my role as the primary breadwinner. And our situation is not as unique as it once was: 42 percent of mothers are the sole or primary breadwinners in their households and bring in at least half of family earnings. Not surprisingly, 51 percent of women report that they are the Chief Financial Officers (CFO) of their households.  Read more here

 

TD Ameritrade, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. Stock investing is subject to risks, including risk of loss. Commentary provided for educational purposes only. Past performance of a security, strategy, or index is no guarantee of future results or investment success.

Security Traders Associate and TD Ameritrade are separate and unaffiliated and not responsible for each other’s services or policies.

 See STA Women in Finance February Newsletter here

 

STA Comment Letter on Lapsed Licenses

Newsletter No.30

STA recently filed a comment letter that included a recommendation on an issue that acutely impacts women in finance: lapsed licenses. According to FINRA regulations, a Series 7 license expires after an employment lapse of two years. While STA did not comment on whether two years is too long or too short a period of time, we did recommend that FINRA institute a new reinstatement policy that has characteristics similar to lawyers. This includes the ability for individuals in a lapse state to take continuing education classes, and guidelines that would allow employers to reasonably expect that a potential hire will have his or her license(s) reinstated upon employment. Further…

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Lawyers vs. Brokers

STA recently filed a comment letter that included a recommendation on an issue that acutely impacts women in finance: lapsed licenses. According to FINRA regulations, a Series 7 license expires after an employment lapse of two years. While STA did not comment on whether two years is too long or too short a period of time, we did recommend that FINRA institute a new reinstatement policy that has characteristics similar to lawyers. This includes the ability for individuals in a lapse state to take continuing education classes, and guidelines that would allow employers to reasonably expect that a potential hire will have his or her license(s) reinstated upon employment. Further, we state that the existing policy is flawed because it “creates an unreasonable barrier of re-entry for qualified individuals” particularly those who are primary childcare providers. STA’s position on instituting a new reinstatement policy for licenses is based partially on fairness, but more so on a fundamental belief that investors will better served from a policy that retains qualified individuals. We all know someone who made a positive impact on our industry and the investors we serve, who then decided to leave for an extended period of time to raise a family. When this individual looks to re-enter our industry they face an unreasonable barrier, in part, because they are uninformed on current practices, and it is difficult to find an employer willing to sponsor them on retaking their exams. Consequently, many of these individuals seek employment elsewhere resulting in a loss of talent for our industry. If that individual were an attorney, they would be able to take continuing education classes during their time off, pay an annual fee and have their license remain valid. Upon re-entering the field of law, they would be educated on current issues and an employer could reasonably expect them to be productive since their license would be valid. STA believes a similar policy in financial services would be beneficial for our industry because it would ultimately benefit investors. Retaining talented people is something every industry must do to be effective. STA will continue to advocate on this issue and we hope you will join us.

STA’s letter to FINRA dated June 19, 2017

Lapsed Licenses
Obtaining the necessary licenses to practice in the financial services industry requires an intense commitment by individuals who must demonstrate mastery in the securities business and their employers who must sponsor them. STA supports the high standards required to pass such exams in order to obtain these licenses. However, STA believes that the requirements for individuals whose employment lapses beyond FINRA’s regulations to retake exams in order to re-enter the financial services industry are too onerous.
STA believes FINRA’s current policy is flawed because it creates an unreasonable barrier of re-entry for qualified individuals, in particular those who are primary childcare providers. According to FINRA regulations, the Series 7 license expires after an employment lapse of two years. STA has no comment on whether two (2) years is too long or too short a period of time, but we do believe that FINRA should institute a new reinstatement policy and process that has the following characteristics: the ability for individuals in a lapse state to take continuing education classes; requires individuals to apply and upon approval have their license(s) reinstated and guidelines which would allow employers to reasonably expect that a potential hire will have their license(s) reinstated upon employment. Reinstatement policies and processes exist in other industries such as the practice of law, therefore there are examples to compare.
See July STA WIF Newsletter here

Don’t Be That Guy

 

Don’t Be That Guy

By Jim Toes

 

As the youngest of seven siblings many of the life lessons my father passed on to me were delivered at opportune moments in short, succinct sentences. In other words, by the time I came along my father had “Basic Parenting 101” down. Yesterday, I was reminded of a conversation that took place in the car as my father drove me to a Saturday morning sports practice in my senior year of high school. “I know when guys get into a locker room, they shoot their mouths off about girls and what they did and didn’t do. Don’t be that guy.” That was it. Sage advice, delivered only once in a highly effective manner so as to be recalled now 31 years later after reading Sam Polk’s article “How Wall Street Bro Talk Keeps Women Down” in the New York Times. Mr. Polk’s article not only caused me to recall my father’s words, but it reminded me of those times when I found myself in Wall Street’s version of a locker room with male colleagues objectifying female colleagues with crude and vulgar language. Like Mr. Polk, the number of times I stood silent or even participated outnumbered the times I stood up to the sexist behavior. So I cannot claim to be the hero here. However, I can say unequivocally that the vast majority of time after such experiences, feelings of guilt and disappointment in my behavior followed. Additionally, participating in the behavior never improved my standing with a manager whom I respected, nor did it create unbreakable bonds with peers or even endear me to those junior. It was from these experiences that my desire and courage to get it right the next time improved, and to a large degree I can say that I am not one of those guys today.

I disagree with some of Mr. Polk’s descriptions on how ingrained and systemic the objectivity of women is at Wall Street firms, but I applaud his article for raising awareness on an issue that needs to be addressed through the combined efforts of men and women. The harm brought to firms by objectifying women is real, and both men and women need to be engaged in the response.  The STA Women in Finance initiative was founded on several guiding principles two of which are; that there has never been a better time to be a female working in the financial services industry and that action items should consider the male perspective and involvement where appropriate. STA WIF acknowledges that more needs to be done and we see the “promulgation of diversity committees and women’s leadership summits” as described by Mr. Polk as resources which provide hope that the future will be brighter for women and minorities. These institutional-sized responses are sources of education on the value-add that diversity brings to organizations, and they provide training on recognizing and responding to sexism in the workplace. My wife ran equity sales-trading at a major investment bank in the 1990’s and we have three daughters. I share Mr. Polk’s feelings that it is scary raising daughters today, but I believe the opportunities they, and other women and minorities will have in financial services will be greater than the generations who have come before.