Building a thriving HNW practice through personal upheaval
Relationship breakdowns are always difficult, but what’s the impact when you’re just starting your financial advisory practice? Jocelyn Willoughby, Senior Investment Advisor, TD Wealth Private Investment Advice, shares how she worked through grief and built a thriving practice.
Jocelyn Willoughby experienced a relationship breakdown shortly after launching her practice as an investment advisor. It was a challenging time but, drawing on support from everyone around her, she refocused on her business and attracted an accelerating stream of new client assets to her High Net Worth (HNW) practice.
What pulled you through your darkest days?
Starting as an investment advisor was already one of the hardest things I had ever done in my life. Then the breakup happened. It was unexpected, so it was especially hard to work through that initial period.
However, an amazing support team helped me feel confident in myself again and reassured me I’m in the right place.
My manager and mentor found ways to keep me busy and focused. I actually moved over to my mentor’s office for a few months to support her with overflow work and she helped me get past my fear of doing it all on my own. I was also learning from her and, when I was in a better place, I shifted attention back to my business. That’s when my own practice started taking off and, soon after, I was so busy I had to focus exclusively on my clients.
Beyond my manager and mentor – without whom I probably wouldn’t still have a practice – I had wonderful support from my colleagues, friends and family. I recalibrated and concentrated on the support systems that were still there.
Also, I’ve always been self-motivated and process-oriented, so for me it was about knowing that as long as I persevere and keep following the process, I’ll get through it and reach my goals. At first, I felt like I was in a forest and couldn’t see the path. Then I was on the path and could see the light beyond the trees. While I found my way again, I stopped holding myself back and started accomplishing great things in my career.
“An amazing support team helped me feel confident in myself again and reassured me I’m in the right place.”
Jocelyn Willoughby, Senior Investment Advisor, TD Wealth Private Investment Advice
How can mentors help women succeed in this industry?
In my career, I’ve had half a dozen very strong female mentors. My current mentor was really helpful in encouraging me to talk through my fears and challenges and address practical questions about how to run my business and where I could find my niche. When you’re new, you’re so busy working in your practice that you aren’t really seeing the bigger picture or able to define what you want your business to look like. My mentor helped me figure out my strategic direction – and, as I said before, she also kept me busy so I wasn’t stewing in grief.
Overall, I believe women can bring a different perspective to wealth advice – one that is highly valued by HNW clients. According to one study, women often score higher on traits like conscientiousness¹ and are often empathetic, which can be important to this role. We are often also more willing to share and be vulnerable to connect with clients. Mentors can help women draw on these attributes to help their clients set goals and make the hard but right decisions along their path.
¹ TD Wealth; Behavioural Finance Report, 2018
TD Wealth Private Investment Advice, a division of TD Waterhouse Canada Inc. which is a subsidiary of The Toronto-Dominion Bank.
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February 15, 2022