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Where More Work Remains to Be Done for Women in Financial Services: F2's Liz Fritz

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Liz Fritz, co-founder  and chief commercial officer of the financial technology consulting group F2 Strategy, has advocated for the industry to “build a culture of space, tolerance and capacity for women to perform at their best as caregivers and business leaders.”

She’s recommended that firms give employees remote work options and put in place other family-friendly policies. They should also “lead by example in expressing their tolerance for employee’s many roles outside of their jobs” and offer women access to support groups and mentoring opportunities, as well as professional development and transparency on salaries.

In addition, Fritz has called on the industry to embrace the notion of “women supporting women,” an approach fully embraced at F2 Strategy, whose leader Doug Fritz was recognized as a ThinkAdvisor LUMINARIES winner in 2021.

ThinkAdvisor recently asked Liz five questions about where the firm and wider industry are today with respect to women, technology and inclusion. Here are her thoughts.

Where is the wealth management industry in terms of its employment of women? 

Liz Fritz: I think the wealth management industry has made further strides than fintech if you look at the available statistics. According to the Fintech Diversity Radar 1000 Index, of the 2,167 fintech founders they surveyed, 131 were female.

I knew as a female co-founder of F2 Strategy that I was a trailblazer, but that statistic certainly is humbling and shows we need to do better. The index also found that women make up less than one quarter of the fintech C-suite.

But overall, in financial services, there is still work to be done, and as shown in my recent progress report, we at F2 Strategy are doing our part to increase gender equity in the industry.

How did F2 Strategy get to 50/50 in its female/male ratio, and how long did it take to reach that milestone?

We’ve been fortunate to have hired within the last year several incredibly talented females including Pam Turner, Michelle Vine, Katie Delwiche, Anita Wong, Carissa Turnell, and Lisa Ascher. As a 22-employee wealthtech management consulting firm, we achieved gender parity within the last year.

We were able to do this because when Doug and I founded our firm back in 2016, our hiring objectives were to hire and develop a diverse, creative and humble group of experts in their field. And as a mission-driven firm that places a great emphasis on corporate well-being and family first, that resonates with people and encourages top talent to apply.

How does your Girls Who Code partnership fit into this focus for F2 Strategy?

Ever since we founded our firm, increasing diversity within wealthtech was important to Doug and myself. And as a woman in fintech, it’s particularly important to me.

Our partnership with Girls Who Code is allowing us to help the next generation of coders and fintech employees to be more representative of the overall population.

Since Girls Who Code started in 2012, they have trained 450,000 girls from elementary school through college — half of whom are Black, Latinx or low-income — how to code.

Through our partnership, we have begun participating in events with Girls Who Code and look forward to doing more with the group to encourage these young women to take their talents far.

What else is F2 Strategy doing now or in the near future to support and promote women in the industry?

Last year during Women’s History Month, we started the #womeninwealthtechtowatch campaign on our social media channels. This initiative is simple: Spotlight female leaders in fintech and wealthtech and to advocate for more female speakers on panels, on boards thus driving more decision-making in our industry.

It’s just another way for F2 Strategy to leverage our firm’s deep network to elevate and empower more female voices in our space.

We also regularly highlight women on our blog and podcasts to bring more awareness of what women in our industry are accomplishing.

One thing we aim to do more in the future is collect data on women already in technology decision-making positions to show how their appointments are adding commercial value to their firms and the industry. We believe as we show the value women are bringing to the table, it will encourage more women to be hired and promoted.

At F2 Strategy, we are also looking at ways to create more networking opportunities so women can help elevate and hire each other. After all, if we don’t know each other exists, we can’t help by being each other’s advocates.

What would like to see the industry do to better support women? And are you generally upbeat, neutral or pessimistic about this change?

I’m generally optimistic. The industry has made improvements since I first entered it and is only continuing to move forward. As a woman in the field representing others, I just hope that we can make bigger leaps forward versus small steps.

I think the answer revolves around a central idea that companies need to continue to work on building a corporate culture of space, tolerance and capacity for women to perform at their best as caregivers and as business leaders.

I am also incredibly proud of recently joining Chief along with several of my talented fintech and wealthtech peers. Chief is the only organization specifically designed for the most powerful women executives to strengthen their leadership, magnify their influence, and pave the way to bring others with them and I know is an important leap to pave the way for other women in our industry.