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SMC Investment Club hosts financial advisor

| Tuesday, October 2, 2018

On Monday, the Saint Mary’s Investment Club hosted Megan Hamand, a 1st Source Bank financial advisor, to discuss female empowerment in business and her experiences as a woman in finance.

Hamand said she never planned on entering the financial world. She graduated from college with a bachelor’s degree in English and went on to receive a master’s degree in business administration.

“I was going to be a journalist, I was going to work for a newspaper, I was going to write the next great American novel,” Hamand said. “Well, I didn’t write the novel, but I worked for a newspaper right out of school.”

After moving back home and reviewing haunted houses for a local magazine, Hamand said, a non-compete clause prevented her from writing for any other local publications, forcing her to consider any other options she could find.

Hamand’s husband, also a financial advisor, was enrolled at Indiana University South Bend at the time, and applied for a banker’s position at Key Bank. Because he had not yet graduated from IUSB, he was not qualified for the position, but the bank manager had worked on a Relay for Life campaign with Hamand and offered her the job instead, she said.

“I started in banking in October, 2008, right in the middle of the recession,” Hamand said. “I didn’t really have much of a clue what was going on, I was an English major. … From there, I really evolved. I liked it.”

A background in English helped Hamand communicate effectively with clients, she said. Most of her clients lived off the interest from certificates of deposit (CDs), and were hit especially hard by the 2008 financial crisis.

“When the Great Recession hit, CD rates, along with everything else, plummeted,” Hamand said. “So within the first two months of working at the bank, our CD rates went from 4 to 5 percent, to less than 1 percent.”

This situation inspired Hamand to explore other areas of investment that might ease the financial stress on her clients at Key Bank, she said.

“Within the first year of working at the bank, I went and got my Life and Health licensing, which allowed me to sell fixed annuities,” Hamand said. “It was a little bit different, and took some explaining to the clients, took some licensing on my part, but for the most part it was something that they were comfortable with and was giving them just a little bit better interest rate.”

Hamand said her branch manager recognized her interest in fixed annuities and encouraged her to pursue further licensing in investment.

“Things really took off from there,” Hamand said.

After finishing her licensing process, Hamand left Key Bank for her current position as a full-time financial advisor in the Trust and Private Banking department at 1st Source Bank. Hamand said she began to develop a specialty for retirement planning.

She said having a female branch manager was a source of inspiration and solidarity.

“For me, being a financial advisor and having a manager who is a woman is kind of amazing,” Hamand said. “There’s not very many female advisors, let alone managers for the programs.”

Hamand said she has experienced gender discrimination from colleagues and other professionals. For example, when working with male financial partners, as either a junior or senior advisor, she said she has often been confused for a secretary or administrative support.

“You go into client appointments and the female is always automatically assumed to be the assistant,” Hamand said. “That can be really frustrating.”

Despite these encounters, Hamand said her gender has also been beneficial, as many clients intentionally seek out a female financial advisor.

“There’s something about the maternal instinct,” she said. “I think clients relate to me a little bit better. I’ve had quite a few clients, male and female, say that they feel more comfortable working with a female advisor, and I’ve had a lot of referrals from different parts of the bank. I think it comes down to the perception of having a little more empathy.”

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About Maeve Filbin

Maeve is a senior studying political science and economics at Saint Mary's, as well as Journalism, Ethics and Democracy at Notre Dame. She serves as an Assistant Managing Editor of The Observer, and thinks everyone should support student journalism.

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