‘Financial inclusion through exclusivity’

January 11, 2019

In the latest interview in our ongoing women in finance series, we talk to the founder of Rainchq, Davinia Tomlinson, about technology, the gender gap and financial education and inclusion.

Financial advice is in need of a shakeup. No one is more aware of this than Davinia Tomlinson, CEO and co-founder of Rainchq, a company on a mission to promote financial inclusion for women through exclusivity.

Davinia believes the financial advice sector is currently “marred by a series of scandals and lots of bad press generally. A tiny minority of really unscrupulous advisers have preyed on vulnerable people, including women, but men and women, and as a result it has an image problem.”

The solution to this problem is to include rather than exclude, and Davinia notes that making sure women are better represented will lead to more women seeking financial advice.

“When discussing something as intimate as your finances, particularly for women, it’s much easier to talk to another woman,” Davinia says, “In some cases, although not all, women tend to strike up a better rapport with another woman when discussing something personal.”

Although this push to diversify the workplace has been a prominent point of discussion post-Me Too, Davinia is quick to add that this should not result in alienating one group.

“There is a real danger that we could alienate the older white male, but my vision actually is about inclusion for all.”

“In order to promote that message, get more female financial advisers and get more diversity, we don’t need to suddenly exclude white men. That would be incredibly counterproductive and undermine the whole purpose of it.”

While this disconnect of women seeking financial advice is due to many factors and Davinia cites the “masculine and aggressive” nature of the financial language as one particular reason, she does believe progress is being made.

Alongside emphasising the role of diversity in the workplace, the CEO of Rainchq is ensuring her company is moving with the times, which primarily involves embracing technology. Far from being the colder form of interaction with clients, Davinia stands by the usefulness of technology which allows financial advisers “to make the connections that are really important.”

There are some sections in the world of financial advice that fear this new wave of technology. The standard response to this reliance on fintech, from the traditionalists, is that this will result in the loss of jobs as technology replaces them. However, Davinia points out that “people will always feel more comfortable talking to people when it comes to things that are personal to them. So even though they’ll be happy to use technology to facilitate those interactions, I don’t think technology will replace those interactions.”

Rainchq is more than happy to embrace “the massive game changer” that is technology, according to Davinia. She believes it is instrumental in “ensuring that clients are able to get access to quotes in a time and place that’s convenient for them and where they live in the country.” On top of all these benefits that fintech brings to put it simply it also saves on the copious amount of paperwork — of which there is plenty in financial advice.

As for where the beginning of this digital age will take financial advice in the not so distant future, Davinia believes automation is going to infiltrate all corners of the market even if she hopes human advice, or more specifically, female advice, remains central to the process.

“I’d like to see more and more women being included and having a seat at the table, having a voice,” Davinia explains, “because ultimately that diversity of opinion will be vital in ensuring that businesses are, not just saying they’re doing the right thing, but actually are doing the right thing.”

It was this desire to prioritise women in an area where historically there were not represented that led to the creation of Rainchq. Davinia noticing this gap in the market and turning it into a business is proof that her philosophy of using one’s difference to an advantage pays off. She encourages women starting off in financial advice to “be proud of and champion your own instinctiveness in an industry that has been so male dominated in the past. So rather than looking to conform and see whatever the prevailing standard is, actually use your difference as your massive advantage.”

While some may see embracing the financial technology of today as a step closer to allowing the machines to take over, Rainchq acknowledge that the client comes first, and so does anyway to improve accessibility to them. As well as ensuring they remain at the forefront of fintech, Rainchq’s mission to help women take control of their financial situation is one that will hopefully inspire many women to look after themselves by looking after their future.