Liz Trotter: Empowering women through financial advice

Financial Wisdom adviser Liz Trotter is passionate about improving women’s lives through financial empowerment. It’s a passion that has taken her all the way to New York – where she recently received a Silver Award in the internationally acclaimed Stevie® Awards.

During her 14-year career as a financial adviser, Liz Trotter has been driven by her innate desire to help others. When she became an adviser in 2002, Liz realised the industry was still very male-dominated – and while she knew that financial literacy and advice were vital tools for empowering women, she also knew that many women are averse to engaging with the financial services industry. So Liz made it her mission to build up a base of female clients.

Fast forward to 2011 when Liz became a partner of Triple A Financial Services, a Financial Wisdom practice based in Adelaide. In the five years since, with Liz and fellow partner Ashley Hann at the helm, Triple A has experienced strong business growth – partly thanks to the team’s mission to share their success with the community.

Today, the practice dedicates 10% of its annual working hours to pro-bono activities. As well as helping those in need, this initiative appeals to the rest of their client base, who regularly refer friends and family to the caring and community-minded practice.

Supported by a strong network

With the support and guidance of her Financial Wisdom Practice Development Manager, Jarrad Gray, Liz says Triple A has struck an excellent balance between providing high-quality, personalised advice and giving back to the community.

“When we want to take on a new pro-bono client, Ashley and I present to Jarrad and our entire staff about why we want to work with that client,” Liz explained. “We provide our costings and the hours we’ll give to them, which helps us avoid becoming top heavy with pro-bono work.”

As part of the Financial Wisdom adviser community, Liz has also been an avid participant in CommBank’s Women and Financial Planning program. She describes this experience as a turning point in her career.

“It showed me what my passion is: to educate everyone to seek advice,” Liz said.

It was through the program that Liz met Meaghan Noble, CommBank’s Executive Manager of Women and Advice. Meaghan has encouraged Liz to step outside her comfort zone and present to school and industry groups about female financial literacy.

“I’ve loved working with Liz,” Meaghan said. “She has a genuine passion for improving the financial wellbeing of women – both in a commercial context and through the wonderful pro-bono work she does.”

Giving women back their freedom

Outside her business, Liz volunteers her time and expertise to the Salvation Army. One of her roles is to give pro-bono financial advice to women living in emergency shelters, to help them escape the cycle of domestic violence.

Liz commented: “Domestic violence takes choice and freedom away from women – I help them understand that money can give them the freedom to make decisions.”

Liz has also helped create a network of female professionals working in fields such as law, accounting and housing, who provide additional advice and support to these vulnerable women. For Liz’s part, she offers practical financial guidance – for example, by taking them to the bank to set up a new account. Some of the women she helps are migrants who are unfamiliar with Australia’s financial system, while others have never had control over their own money.

Liz also commends CommBank’s initiatives to help end domestic violence, particularly the activities of the Domestic Violence Working Group. She firmly believes banks can play a vital role in supporting women impacted by domestic and family violence.

“By understanding and helping these women, banks can make a huge difference to their lives,” she said.

An overwhelming experience

Always keen for new challenges, when a colleague suggested that Liz nominate herself for the world-famous Stevie Awards, she agreed to give it a try.

“I thought the awards could help me to promote my passion for financial literacy,” explained Liz.

Liz applied for the Women Helping Women category of the Women In Business awards program. A couple of months later, she was told her application was accepted.

“In October I received an email saying I was a finalist, and that I was invited to attend the award ceremony in New York City!” said Liz. “Winning the silver was overwhelming – there were so many amazing women from all over the world and it was a privilege to be in the same room with them, let alone to win.”

Liz now has plans to help more women become entrepreneurs, which may involve her writing a book on the topic. But no matter where the future takes her, Liz has simple advice for other financial advisers who want to give something back.

As Liz says, “Find your passion, then take that to the community.”

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