Providing equitable opportunity through investment access 

Author: Sarah Mawji |  March 8, 2023

This year’s International Women’s Day is about learning how to #embracequity. Knowing the difference between equality and equity is a step forward on the path to making impactful change.  

What’s the difference between equity and equality? 

Equity hasn’t been well embraced or understood—especially in the financial sector. 

Equality means each individual or group of people is given the same resources and opportunities, without factoring in individual circumstances. Equity, on the other hand, recognizes that individuals may need different tools or resources to succeed. It considers how to level the playing field and the varying levels of support are required to achieve greater fairness of outcomes. 

Fortunately, individuals and organizations are working to change this narrative, and because of their work, the financial services industry is making strides toward a more equitable landscape.  

Equity through institutional-style investments 

Today, more equitable access to unique investment options is improving. When we think about common investment options, bank-owned products and publicly-traded securities within the stock markets are what typically come to mind, but there is a world beyond this—and yes, for all investors—not just institutional ones.   

Within the private markets, alternative investments have been considered a truly, unique asset class for decades – yet until more recently, Canadians have not had access to this.   

To level the playing field, Canadians must have access to the same diverse opportunities available to institutional investors, like alternatives.  This has become a possibility thanks to industry leaders like Danny Popescu, and the entire Harbourfront Wealth Management team working to empower Canadians. 

Equity starts at the top 

While the industry continues to be predominantly male, the need for diversity is clear. As the generational wealth transfer starts to further unfold, it will also become more critical for firms who want to attract new wealth holders which are predicted to skew female.  

At Harbourfront, over 67% of our senior management team is female. Our team is made up of diverse ethnicities and leaders of all ages. As a result, we are more unified and capable of understanding the varying investment needs that are spread across our Canadian landscape. 

It is not enough to just have a diverse and balanced leadership team. Equity considerations must be weaved in at the top so that they filter through entire organizations. Many of Harbourfront’s financial advisors work to empower and fuel change within their respective communities. They share a collective goal which is to open the door to opportunity to all. 

Nicole Deters, financial advisor at Harbourfront, is a leader and champion of women in wealth management. She has created leadership initiatives to support women of all ages to become more financially independent.  

Kerry Rizzo, named a Leading Women in the Canadian wealth industry, is a leading voice for gender equality in the investment industry.  

She is an active member and speaker for events like The Entrepreneur Nation. This year on International Women’s Day, Kerry is speaking on a panel for #IWD2023. You can register here:  https://lnkd.in/gWwJ6BP5 

Ladan Shokrgozar is an impressive leader known for championing women in the financial industry and her trusted client relationships. In 2022, Ladan’s contributed her authentic perspective on female challenges and opportunities in Citywire and spoke at the Women in Wealth Management 2022 event.   

This an example of just a few of our female leaders, in addition to rising stars within the firm, and top talent at all levels across the company.   

Coming Together in Honour of International Women’s Day 

Given that most Canadians do not earn the same income or share equal levels of wealth, institutions and financial groups must take into consideration that all Canadians do not start from the same place. 

Despite growing awareness around inequities in finance a major discrepancy around investment access remains alive and well. In honour of International Women’s Day, let’s come together and embrace equity by raising awareness around the opportunities that do exist to make the lives of all Canadians, better.