A good fit
Other changes since the last profile include an office move from Chandos Place (near Trafalgar Square) a mile or so up the road to Euston; the introduction of ethical portfolios that mirror the firm’s core model portfolios [read more about this in Cover Star Extra next week] and taking on more staff (she will have 13 by next year).
Zoe Dagless has been trained in house and is now a chartered financial planner at the firm, with client care manager Sasha Mitchell, who joined in September 2017, ‘hot on her heels’. Marketing executive Hannah Thorp, who joined in July, was recruited through LinkedIn, but Sofat says other recruitment strategies have not been as successful.
‘We have paid way more recruitment fees than I would like to recall,’ she says. ‘There are head hunter-type businesses that work with bigger business but are expensive for smaller businesses, and then the middle-ground recruitment companies where the quality varies – we’ve tried both.’
She says the firm takes a long-term view on recruitment, for example, it would most likely take on a good paraplanner or adviser at any time if one came along. ‘It’s really hard to find good, well-qualified, rounded people,’ she says.
To combat this lack of ‘good people’ in the profession, Sofat has yet another plan on the horizon: the Addidi School. This would provide a complete financial planning training course and a training course for existing advisers.
Sofat says, as professional standards have risen (which is a good thing) the choice of financial planners has narrowed. She says this is because the sheer number of advisers has reduced, and because things such as holistic planning, really getting to know clients, takes more time. ‘There are only so many people you can look after if you really have that one-to-one relationship,’ she says.
As a result, some levels of clients are pushed out of this space – something the school will attempt to combat. It will also serve as a way for advisers to meet and work with each other, and act as a way of bringing more women into the profession.
‘We need more women,’ Sofat says. ‘It’s a fantastic job for women, you can be totally flexible, and so I want to develop a flexible, agile model for women that they can control. I think women go to self-employment because of that control, so that’s the plan.’
This recognition of how women feel about control complements her thoughts on power, and her plans for Voices of Women’s Wealth. It is clear these are the driving force for all the work Sofat does.
Sofat says women often do not see themselves as powerful, ‘but collectively we are pretty powerful, and we have to use that.
‘Let’s use that magic wand to think ahead to what legacy we leave from today. Let’s get that big picture right; that’s what we as women need to do.’