Women and wealth

International Women's Day 2018: She broke the law to speak up for inclusion


In 1976, Eva Moyle-Amerl confidently entered the trading floor in downtown Toronto. She was breaking the law.

Eva Moyle-Amerl with Dave Agnew from rbc ds

Eva Moyle-Amerl with David Agnew.

This was an historic moment for the industry, where it was illegal for women to be on the exchange floor.

Moyle-Amerl sparked a discussion that no one had dared start in Canada – diversity and inclusion in business. After meeting with the city's mayor, a letter was sent to the Queen of England and the law excluding women from entering the trading floor in Canada was abolished.

Moyle-Amerl became the first female investment advisor at RBC Dominion Securities Inc. (RBC DS) and has had a profound effect on her clients over a 40-year career. Needless to say, she was a trailblazer for women in the industry. This is her story:

What made you get into the brokerage business in the '70s, especially when it was (and still is) such a male-dominated industry?

"I spoke to a large group of women and learned something that astounded me - none of them had a bank account. They had never written a cheque and had no insight on their household's wealth. Coming from Vienna, where this was not the case, and as a single mother who managed it all, I was determined to change this. They needed to be empowered."

Who mentored you along the way?

"I was the only woman in the field for seven years and I initially felt people in the industry didn't want me to succeed; so I had no mentor. But, many people along the way were kind enough to encourage and support me. I just had to stay confident and persevere, even when others did not believe in me."

What are some of your early memories? How have things changed or stayed the same?

"Today, it's no longer uncommon for women to have bank accounts and every day more females join the industry. And there are much better arrangements for women to start a family while running their own business (e.g. RBC DS' IA leave program – a first in the investment industry). But sadly, it remains a male-dominated space, even though there has been considerable progress. I believe women mentoring each other can be a powerful way to create inclusion in the industry."

Why did you stay at RBC DS?

"You need to convince strangers to trust you with their money – you treat them like family and that's how they become clients. RBC DS offers quality and trust with the brand strength of a truly global organization. And that is exactly what I want to offer my clients and what our clients expect; it's what you would want to offer family - so I stayed."

What advice would you give young women today?

"Confidence and perseverance, always.

Being a female IA was so tough at the beginning of my career. It was difficult to build a network because clients weren't sure if they could trust me. I nearly starved to death. I had a couple of clients from my international days which meant that my son and I could eat and pay rent. But with perseverance and confidence, I built a strong network.

Know that it is absolutely possible to have both a family and a career – I've seen it happen. A strong support system - both at work and at home – is essential.

And finally, this business is more than just making money; it's planning, it's emotional investment, and it's helping your client make decisions as you would for yourself and your family."

“RBC Dominion Securities Inc. is committed to hiring more leaders like Eva who will continue to push industry norms and build a relationship of trust and perseverance," says David Agnew, CEO, RBC Wealth Management Canada. “That's why we've implemented and continue to support a number of initiatives to attract the industry's most talented women advisors to our firm."