Women in Finance – series of blogs, episode 1

Helena Bogdanovski, Head of Talent Acquisition

For our first episode in our Women in Finance series, we caught up with Helena Bogdanovski, our Head of Talent Acquisition to find out more about her inspirational career development and the journey that led her to join Foster Denovo.

Helena has a wealth of experience in recruiting talent in the financial services and banking sectors. She worked for high profile banks, setting up executive recruitment teams and hiring highly skilled professionals.

Moving away from financial services, Helena worked for a major fashion brand, but her passion and experience in finance led her back into the industry and in 2019 she joined our business. Since then, Helena has been instrumental in shaping the way we manage our recruitment, with her innovative thinking and energetic approach.

Helena spoke to us about her role, life at Foster Denovo and the importance of recruiting female advisers.

“I am very driven and ambitious, therefore building a recruitment career in a dynamic industry such as financial services, really suits my personality. I enjoy getting to know people and discovering talent, this is something that I find very rewarding in my role.

As the Head of Talent Acquisition, my role has evolved considerably; I am not only responsible to recruit talent, but I also set up business plans and manage our employed financial advisers. There is a lot of flexibility here at Foster Denovo for your job role to grow. You can have a conversation about something you’d like to do and, next thing you know, you have all the support to make it happen.

Financial advisers also have this flexibility and, in fact, we really welcome their input on how to improve our processes and services. Most of the time, if it’s commercially viable, it materialises.

I think that’s what differentiates us from most firms in the sector. A lot of them just do business a certain way because that’s how they’ve always done it. At Foster Denovo, we’re very open to change and truly listen to our advisers and employees.

To facilitate this two-way communication, there are different forums for people to join and share their thoughts. So, for example, we have an adviser forum where they can share their thoughts and suggestions with the operational team on how the business works and what could be improved, which I think is key to continually enhance our services.

From an employee perspective, we have an internal engagement group called “The Voice” where all the ideas and suggestions made by employees can be planned in and implemented, within reason of course. But generally, the leadership and management teams are always asking for feedback, and we also run regular independent and anonymous employee surveys, so we can continuously improve the way we work and ensure that our people have their say and are happy.

It’s also important to recruit women as advisers to represent the demographic of our client base, which is essentially a 50/50 split between male and female, and currently our advisers are predominantly male.

I think it’s key to address this imbalance as some clients may have a preference for a woman as their adviser, so we have ambitious goals to recruit and develop more women to join our talented advisory team.

I was recently talking to someone at a recruitment company who mentioned that they know a number of female advisers who would love to join a more female-dominated environment. Interestingly, over 50% of our workforce is made up of women, with 38% of them occupying leadership positions. This is something that is not well known externally, but we aim to showcase this more actively going forward.

We are working to increase the number of women in senior roles at Foster Denovo and, to demonstrate our commitment to this cause, we’ve joined the Women in Finance Charter; it promotes gender diversity in the financial services industry through setting firms realistic targets to rectify this gap. We also have a strong learning & development programme in place, as well as succession planning processes, which help develop junior employees into our senior roles, encouraging an equal balance of talent in our business across all diversity and inclusion groups.”