Darlington based financial services group, The Verve Group, are breaking the mould when it comes to stereotypes within the industry and are changing the face of financial services as we know it.

The Verve Group is the brainchild of Cathi Harrison, Founder and Owner, who sought to bring a fresh approach to the way the financial services industry as a whole offers support services, and how it attracts and develops new talent.

Cathi is supported in this mission by an all-female leadership team, which further breaks the industry ‘norms’, offering a different way of thinking to drive each business forward in this shared goal.

Females have long since been underrepresented in financial services, and recent statistics show that only 6% of chief executives of financial services firms are women. In honour of  International Women’s Day, the leadership team at The Verve Group have been reflecting on their experiences of being female professionals within an industry that has traditionally been dominated by men, and what advice they would give to young females starting out in their own professional careers.

Natalie Bell, Director of People & Culture, said: “Yes, we’re an all-female leadership team but it’s been designed by chance, not choice. We own our strengths and weaknesses as people, and not as females.”

The group has grown significantly over the last few years, demonstrating year on year financial growth and more than tripling their staff numbers. This success can be attributed to the leadership’s approach to trying new ideas and going against tradition; and a great example of this, is the introduction of the UK’s first ever paraplanning specific graduate scheme (The Grad Scheme). This has been a ground-breaking move for financial services and is already creating jobs for the North East area and giving new found opportunities for individuals to enter the sector.

The Verve Group are incredibly passionate about showcasing those often underrepresented in the profession, and through their FYIFinance campaign, they are demonstrating that everyone can access a role in finance. Cathi Harrison, said: “It’s all about visibility; I truly believe that people seeing others in financial services that are similar to them (whether through gender, age, previous careers, skill sets etc. etc.) will encourage them in to the profession.

Kim Binks, Director of Client Relations, adds: “I really believe that as a company we are on the right track, we’ve got a really mix of people in the office and are committed to providing the right opportunities for the right person for the job!.”

The team’s collective mission and values has helped them feel supported and motivated by one other, however, this hasn’t always been the case in other roles within financial services, as Jo Campbell, Director of Quality and Operations describes: “When I first started out, I used to get quite offended by the “old boy” antics of some of the people I interacted with. Misogynistic and demeaning comments were abundant, and it did affect my confidence.”

The Verve Group want to empower all walks of life to choose a career they want, rather than shy away from a profession they think they’re not valued in, and Cathi’s advice for females looking to start their professional careers is to: “find a job doing what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.”

There is clearly a long way to go to achieve gender balance within the industry, but the Verve Group are making big waves to balance the difference for the better. To find out more about The Verve Group visit: www.weareverve.co.uk and join the conversation on Twitter at: @GroupVerve