Fidelity President Kathleen Murphy: "Hiring managers need to think much more broadly as to who they may consider as candidates for financial services positions." | FI SENSE

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In our series on Women In Finance, we speak of women who are leaders in the Finance industry. Wall Street and Finance used to be an all-white boys club”. Great progress has been made and this has changed a lot recently. Of course, despite the progress, we still have a lot more work to do to achieve parity. According to CNBC, less than 17 per cent of senior positions in investment banks are held by women. The key question asked to all the leading Women in Finance is:

“In your opinion or experience, which 3 things can be done by a)individuals b)companies and c) society to support the movement towards greater gender parity in the finance industry?”

In this article, we speak of Kathleen Murphy, the President of Fidelity.

Kathleen joined Fidelity in 2009 as President of Personal Investing, which provides a full range of investment and financial planning services to millions of individual investors including wealth management, retirement planning, and brokerage. Personal Investing is a leading provider of offerings such as mutual funds, IRAs, ETFs, college savings plans, and more. Murphy also oversees Fidelity’s life insurance and annuities business, its workplace savings business for tax-exempt organizations, all of the firm’s brand and advertising programs, and Fidelity’s digital programs. Prior to joining Fidelity, Murphy was CEO of ING U.S. Wealth Management, leading the Defined Contribution, Defined Benefit, Retirement Solutions, Annuities, and ING Advisors Network businesses. She began her career with Aetna, spending 15 years in a variety of legal and government affairs positions, eventually serving as general counsel and chief compliance officer, Aetna Financial Services. Murphy sits on the Board of Governors of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the Board of Directors of the Markle Foundation, and the Board of Directors and Vice-Chair of the National Football Foundation. She has repeatedly been named one of the “50 Most Powerful Women in American Business” by Fortune magazine, one of the “Wall Street Top 50” and “Business 100” by Irish America magazine, and named as one of the “25 Most Powerful Women in Finance” by US Banker, among other honours.

According to her,

Open-mindedness. Hiring managers need to think much more broadly as to who they may consider as candidates for financial services positions. Don’t look at a candidate based on what your workforce currently looks like; you’ll never become more diverse with that old-school thinking. Understand your customers, their needs and preferences, and examine your employee demographics. Take some risks with smart, capable people who may not already have a financial background; they can learn!

Q: Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to the Banking/Finance field?

Well, there’s some irony in my story. Early on in my career as an attorney at Aetna, I was asked to work in the investment legal area to further my development as a lawyer.

I remember telling my boss at the time, “I’m never ever going to work in financial services during my career.” Obviously, I was wrong.

Looking back, I believe my hesitancy was impacted by the fact that financial services were (and still is though progress has been made) such a male-dominated field. I soon realized I was fully equipped to succeed in that environment.

The point is — — capable women should have the confidence to compete in any field of their choosing, whether or not it is dominated by men. That’s part of my message to women who are tentative about being actively involved in investing, too. You can do it!

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