Championing female leadership in the ‘private client’ world

We celebrate the high ratio of female leaders in our business and to mark International Women's Day, we contributed an editorial piece to the JEP Work Life Feature in March 2024.

‘Women are amassing greater wealth than before, and that share is likely to grow significantly in the years ahead.’*

Headline grabbing statistics referring to the ‘great wealth transfer’ suggest that women across the globe are steadily gaining more control of their finances.

With this in mind Jersey trustee, Hannah Roynon-Jones, reflects on how this transfer of control and leadership is echoed in the workplace.

Recruited by an all-male board in 2015, I was the first female to take on the role of tax manager at Alex Picot Trust.   Fast-forward to 2024, I am now part of the board of directors which boasts a 50% female-to-male ratio. 

This ratio increases at managerial level where women represent 72% of our leadership in areas of trust administration, business operations, HR and finance. 

Gender should not play any part in a decision to recruit, promote or champion an individual.

We look at experience, potential and a strong work ethic from our staff, and in return offer a genuine work-life balance, flexible working arrangements and proven training and mentoring where people can fulfil their ambitions.

The benefit of a balanced board is to ensure that decision-making processes gain from a range of viewpoints and experiences, leading to more effective and well-rounded outcomes for the organization and its stakeholders. 

Female representation on the board is something that increasingly employees, clients and their advisors look for in a trust company, specifically when the number of female entrepreneurs and investors around the world is reportedly increasing. 

Promoting female leadership is not just about working towards gender equality; it’s about unlocking the full potential of talented women and driving positive change in our businesses and communities.

This may require flexibility in the workplace to support women with families who are juggling a career and family life. Working part time or condensed hours does not mean you are doing a worse job or are thought of as unreliable.

We have seen a shift in recent years of hybrid working and flexible working arrangements which I believe pushes women, who may previously have given up work or changed jobs, to feel encouraged that they are valued in their workplace, are empowered to make meaningful contributions and continue to have a career.

Female leaders often excel in building strong, trust-based relationships with clients, taking the time to understand their unique financial goals, values, and aspirations. This empathetic and client-centric approach means that we can provide tailored and effective strategies that truly align with the client’s needs.

Of course, every client is different and therefore what suits one client may not suit another. At Alex Picot Trust, we pride ourselves on being able to offer bespoke solutions for our clients which includes finding the right trustee for them.

As a trustee, a client must trust us – and having the right trustee for a family is key to a successful multigenerational relationship.

All employees at Alex Picot Trust are supported to follow the career path of their choice and that starts with meaningful hands-on training within our teams and is supported through professional development with qualifications.

Furthermore, female leaders serve as powerful role models and mentors for the next generation of women at Alex Picot Trust.

I am pleased to share the stories of just some of my colleagues to illustrate this point.

Sarah’s story is an example of our ‘home grown’ recruitment strategy which has been repeated across the history of the firm with many trainees staying with us throughout their careers.  Joining as a temporary receptionist, after completing A Levels locally, Sarah’s potential was evident, and she trained with us as an accountant before going on to manage a trust administration team. Promoted to director in 2020, Sarah has become an inspiration to those around her and as a sound advisor for our clients.

Kerry took the first steps towards developing a career within accountancy at Alex Picot Trust when she joined us after A Levels and later qualified with us as a Chartered Certified Accountant.  Today, she oversees all financial aspects of the business and also provides support to our team of in-house accountants on some client accounts.  Kerry has a flexible working from home arrangement which enables her to balance work and home life as a mum of two girls.

Mollie also joined us as a trainee and completed her accountancy qualifications with us. Recently promoted to an Assistant Manager, Mollie has responsibility within the client accountancy team to review as well as prepare financial statements for clients.  She is part of an initiative looking at how adaptive technology can enhance our processes and has been a key part of developing how we use technology to obtain better data reporting on our business. Mollie is also part of a next generation forum group in the accountancy network that we are a part of.

Annabel joined us after completing her A Levels locally and quickly became promoted to a Manager after demonstrating the key qualities we look for in our staff: organisation, professionalism and efficiency. Qualified as a company secretary and with 10 years’ experience, Annabel is a role-model to new joiners who look to her for guidance and is a steady-hand for the day-to-day needs of our clients.  She has built excellent relationships with our clients and enjoys a family-focussed work pattern to enable her to enjoy a rewarding career alongside raising a family.

Named in the 2023 Citywealth Future Leaders Awards, Samantha is an experienced trust professional who joined us as a trainee and subsequently worked her way up to Trust Manager. She completed The Chartered Governance Qualifying Programme (GradAG) and provides support to our directors to ensure our clients receive a personalised and professional service. As a busy mum of twin boys, Samantha sets another great example of being able to raise a family and have a career.

Both professionally and through her lifelong commitment to Girlguiding, Solange has been a role model for many other women who follow.  Within our business she has been relied upon by clients over many decades and been a mainstay in handling some of the more complex family trusts we oversee.  She has been instrumental in recent years in handling the successful move to new premises and our adoption of new digital platforms.

By actively supporting and encouraging women to take on leadership roles at Alex Picot Trust we create a more equitable and dynamic business environment where diverse perspectives and talents thrive.

Holding a leadership position, I am proud to set an example for other aspiring female professionals in our business.

I hope to demonstrate that gender should not be a barrier to success and that women can excel in leadership roles within the private client trust sector.

Overall, I consider my role as director to be a privilege and a responsibility.

Being part of a balanced board allows me to champion initiatives that empower and encourage women to work hard, to be ambitious and to feel rewarded in whatever they do.

*Boston Consulting Group (BCG)- Managing the Next Decade of Women’s Wealth

The original article written by Hannah Roynon-Jones was published in the JEP on Monday 4th March 2024.