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Meet a Trailblazer for Women in Finance

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By Niamh Walsh on 18th January 2023

Wealth Manager of the Year finalist at this year's Women in Investment Awards, Clapham is the co-owner of Manorbridge Investment and a trailblazer for women in finance.

Thank you so much for doing this with us and being a part of our Women Who Launch series! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to the Banking/Finance field?

 My route into the industry has not been a typical one, as most applicants are required to have a degree and enter via a graduate scheme. However, it is one I am proud of as an alternative route for those wishing to pursue a career in wealth management. Following A-Levels, there was a lot of pressure to attend university, but I felt lost and unsure of what career I wanted, so I decided not to go. I applied for jobs where I thought there could be an interesting career and became the receptionist at a local Stockbroker in Lincoln. I thrived being the first point of contact for clients and gaining exposure to the stock market, so this, combined with my ambition and drive, pushed me to undertake the industry qualifications, earning the accolade of being the ‘Youngest Chartered Member’ of the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment in the UK at that time. I think it was at this point I realised wealth management really was the career for me. I love the personal side of getting to know my clients, together with the problem solving of creating a portfolio of investments for their needs. Aged 24, I then transferred to the head office in London, before my team moved to Hargreave Hale. In 2017, Hargreave Hale was taken over, which triggered the decision to start our own business. This opportunity allowed us to not only take control of our destinies, but more importantly to ensure stability and continuity for our clients, many of whom followed us from Brewin Dolphin. Founding a wealth management business has not been without its challenges, but I am immensely proud of the company and culture we have created.

 

Finance used to be an “all boys club”, but this is slowly starting to change. In your opinion, what is causing this change?

I think the answer to this is twofold, firstly awareness on the challenges of diversity has increased significantly. Multiple studies have shown that cognitive diversity within teams creates better outcomes and ‘thinking differently’ can only happen when you include individuals from different backgrounds, genders, race and skill sets. If everyone thinks the same, then you are at risk of making the same mistakes. The second reason I can see originates from clients. Over time, women have become more in control of their income and finances. Women in the UK currently own 48% of assets and a 2020 report from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) predicted this will rise to 60% by 2025. People like to work with likeminded people.  Our role is all about trust and the relationship, as we are dealing with a client’s hard-earned money, so often women feel comfortable dealing with other women, someone who they can relate to, who can provide them with the peace of mind that their money is working as hard as possible for them.

 

Can you share with our readers the most interesting story that occurred to you in your career so far? 

This year (2022) I was over the moon to be a finalist for ‘Wealth Manager of the Year’ in Investment Week’s Women in Investment Awards. It was such an honour to be voted as a finalist, amongst hundreds of candidates and I think it is great the industry has this platform to promote and champion women in finance.

 

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? 

Outside of work I am a volunteer for a charity called GAIN – Girls are Investors. They have a mission to inspire young women to get into the finance industry through talks, career support, mentoring and internship opportunities, so I often speak at schools and universities about my job, hoping to inspire more young girls to consider wealth management as a career. It is heartening to see the tangible difference they are making to young girls lives and it is something I am passionate about, as it can be an intimidating industry and difficult to get on to the ladder initially. I was certainly not aware of the different types of jobs within the finance industry when I was in school.

 

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

There have been changes developing for a number of years in the wealth management industry, whereby the big firms have continued to get bigger, acquiring small and medium companies to grow their assets. These companies have become more homogenised in their approach and offering, often managing model portfolios run by committees and operating ‘buy lists’ of some of the largest investments available. In part, this change was helpful when deciding to set up Manorbridge Investment Management, as we can provide something truly unique, a totally bespoke service catered to the individual, with quality personal service. In addition, as we are a small business, we can be nimble and agile on the investment front, reacting quickly to market conditions and having a greater range of investment opportunities than the big firms, which can boost performance. Many of our clients are busy entrepreneurs, who want to know their investments or pensions are working for them, giving peace of mind to feel safe about their future.

 

Can you please share with us your favourite quote you like to follow in life and tell us why it's your favourite? 

“The success of every woman should be the inspiration to another. We should raise each other up. Make sure you’re very courageous: be strong, be extremely kind and above all be humble”

- Serena Williams.

I think this quote speaks for itself, it is so important to support each other and champion the successes of all women.

Risk warning: With investing, your capital is at risk

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