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Maria Jose Flores became one of the few women to hold a senior executive position in Canada’s financial advisory sector when she was promoted to president of Carte Wealth Management Inc. in Mississauga last month.

She did not seek out the role but was instead asked to take on more responsibilities in addition to being the firm’s chief compliance officer.

Ms. Flores spoke with Globe Advisor about the early priorities she plans to pursue in her new role as well as her advice for other women looking to advance their careers in the male-dominated wealth management industry.

What are you hoping to achieve in your first few months as president?

There are some objectives I have for this year. We distribute exchange-traded funds currently, but the price is too expensive. We are charged $30 a trade whether it’s a sell or a buy, which is very inconvenient. I found another company and they offer a less expensive fee for clients.

The second thing I’m working on is a partnership with an Israeli company, which will allow advisors to do better onboarding for mutual fund clients.

Right now, guided forms are slow, will not allow you to move forward if you missed a box, and will make you input the same information multiple times. With this new system, if there are forms that ask for the same information, they will populate automatically.

What I love the most about this platform is that I can brand it, so it will come directly from the advisor with their logos.

What advice do you have for women with executive ambitions in wealth management?

It is very well known that this industry is ruled by men. However, there are some men who are not afraid to collaborate with women or to have women in leadership.

The change has to be there, it has to be with the men. If, for instance, the current chief executive officer Kirk Purai did not have that mindset that a female could be a leader, I don’t think this opportunity could have actually come and knocked on my door.

Men have to shift their mindset to be able to allow opportunities for women. As for women, we don’t need to be afraid of being heard, to give an opinion as long as we remain respectful. Kirk and I sometimes butt heads as he is a salesperson at the end of the day and my mindset is in compliance.

My advice is to always remain humble, speak the truth and when you feel safe, you can show vulnerability. And when you feel uncomfortable, that’s when you are growing.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

- Jameson Berkow, Globe Advisor reporter

Must-reads from Globe Advisor this week

How a bear market will affect advisors who want to switch firms

While the industry has an innate ability to roll with the punches whether there are bull or bear markets, some advisors might not be as confident in moving their practices from one dealer to another the longer there’s a downturn and the deeper it is. Moving firms could also prove even more difficult as some dealers become more selective in their hiring choices. Jameson Berkow reports on why advisors will also need to explain to clients what’s in the move for them.

The pros and cons of using spousal RRSPs

Canadians have been able to split pension income, including withdrawals from registered retirement income funds since 2007 – but that doesn’t mean spousal or common-law partner registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs) don’t still have a place in many couples’ retirement planning. There are situations in which spouses that have similar current and projected incomes can still benefit from a spousal RRSP. Alison MacAlpine digs deeper into the scenarios in which a spousal RRSP can prove beneficial for couples.

How to budget for buying a car as vehicle payments jump

Car loans have long been Canadians’ second-largest liability after mortgages, but since the pandemic hit, some advisors have noticed their clients’ vehicle debt ballooning. Transportation costs, including gas, insurance, and maintenance, shouldn’t exceed more than 10 to 20 per cent of a monthly household budget. Deanne Gage looks at strategies to consider in order to keep vehicle costs under control.

How reverse mortgages factor into retirement amid rising rates

Reverse mortgages are proving to be an increasingly popular retirement planning tool even though interest rates are rising and these products charge higher rates than most other mortgages. Advisors are turning to reverse mortgages as a way for clients who are looking to delay Old Age Security (OAS) and Canada Pension Plan (CPP) benefits, to access more tax deductions, or assist with down payments on homes for their children. Jameson Berkow reports on the options available and how it compares to a line of credit.

Also see:

Large cap health care stocks bring dividends and products that are always in demand

How advisors can help women close the entrepreneur wealth gap

The benefits of having centres of influence for advisors and their clients

‘Liquidity is terrible’ – poor trading conditions fuel Wall Street tumult

Critics take aim at ‘wild west’ carbon offset market

What you and your clients need to know

Investment industry pushes for more detail on tax-free FHSA

The federal government has not yet published any draft legislation on the new account known as a tax-free first home savings account – or FHSA. But they are expected to become available in 2023, leaving the investment community with a “pretty aggressive timeline” to develop a product it knows very little about operationally. Clara O’Hara reports on concerns brought up at a recent conference and what questions need to be answered.

Is this the worst year in decades to get a HELOC?

Interest rates today are rising in a fast and furious way, which makes it a bad time to add to your debt. Growth in the number of home equity lines of credit (HELOC) is logical in light of the huge gains in home equity over the past two years. But the drawback is that their rate changes with the prime rate, which, in turn, takes its cue from the Bank of Canada’s overnight rate, which is now 1.5 per cent. Rob Carrick looks at how consumers can face “payment shock” with every interest rate increase.

What parents should know about paying for their child’s wedding

People are getting married later in life, a trend that’s giving parents who pitch in more time to save. But the cost comes at a time when parents might need to earmark the money for themselves. Being close to retirement “can make it difficult to take a big chunk of money and hand it over, even if it is for a celebration you want to help your child with,” says an expert. Dene Moore looks at strategies on how to help your children.

- Globe Advisor Staff