This Former TD Wealth Executive Turned Financial Planner Took Ownership Over Her Career — and She’s Encouraging Other Women to Do the Same
Christina Caney, Financial Planner at TD Wealth Financial Planning, shares why speaking up matters
By Sarah Kelsey
Christina Caney is many things — a daughter, sister, wife, mother, champion of women in finance, a respected mentor, glass ceiling shatterer, and former TD Wealth Executive. She’s also someone who’s built her resume by listening to her gut instinct — including taking a mid-career hiatus and leaving a highly coveted executive role at her current company, TD Bank Group (TD), to be a Financial Planner.
Her biggest message to women who are either embarking on or struggling with their careers is simple: “You own your career. No one is going to talk to you about your wants or needs. If you want to get promoted, you have to ask about getting to the next level. If you want to have a family, speak up for yourself about how that will impact your day to day. You own your career — and your life choices.”
With over 20 years of experience exclusively in wealth, Christina has done everything from product management to development at three of Canada’s biggest financial institutions, including the aforementioned TD. One of her very first roles was that of a Financial Planner, a position that saw her develop client-focused, customized strategies to help manage their high-net-worth portfolios.
“I loved the work because I could help clients bring their dreams to reality,” she explains.
With a mother as a judge on the Ontario Superior Court of Justice and her aunt working as an Executive at Sears Canada, Christina comes from a long line of hard-working women. She says she took the next “logical” step in her career journey and “headed to head office,” gradually working her way up the ladder to become a Director.
Then the urge to have kids kicked in.
After some years spent working, Christina was exposed to the way women were sometimes treated in finance. “We really have had to work so much harder than men — whether that’s putting in more hours or changing ourselves to fit a certain mold,” she says.
Little did she know that her personal experience reflected a larger issue. TD’s Wealth for Women 2022 research report sheds light on the reality that affluent women bear a greater responsibility in caring for their families, which subsequently impacts their financial well-being. The report reveals that 37 per cent of affluent women have chosen to take time away from their careers to support or raise their families, while 17 per cent of affluent men have made the same choice. The convergence of Christina’s personal journey and the findings from TD’s report underscores the urgent need for change in how women are supported and valued in the finance industry. Christina decided to sit down with her husband to discuss the feasibility of taking a break.
“I love working in finance, but I also wanted children, and I didn’t want to miss that window of opportunity.” So, she left. For five years, she stayed home with her two daughters.
“I knew it was going to be difficult to continue my career with a young family,” she says. “I know what I did was unusual. If you can’t see it, you can’t be it — meaning, if you can’t see people like you having a family, juggling a certain role, you think, ‘Can I actually be in this industry?’ It’s harder to visualize. Looking back now, I was able to have the best of both worlds.”
Christina’s “in” to restarting her career came through a program called Return to Bay Street. Run by Women in Capital Markets, the initiative gives women who’ve left finance a pathway back to their successful careers after an extended leave. She won one of the program’s awards and landed an internship with TD.
“[It was] a dream company, given the incredible things I had heard about their culture and support systems.”
One of her first roles for the organization was to redesign its advisor program, so it would be more appealing to women.
“Women value different things than men — both in work and when they’re managing their money — including stability and building strong relationships,” she notes, adding that as a result of integrating more of both into the initiative, TD saw an uptake in women who wanted to work in wealth. More high-net-worth women clients also took note of TD’s supportive policies.
“It goes back to ‘if you can’t see it, you can’t be it,’” Christina says, highlighting the importance of representation and visibility for women in finance. “TD really wanted to show women what they could be and how they could be supported in a career in finance, as well as how they could manage their money. They gave women the opportunity to see that things could be different.”
According to TD’s 2022 Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) report, these efforts have yielded significant results in gender diversity. Women now constitute nearly 60 per cent (55.9 per cent) of TD’s global workforce, and they hold 40 per cent of vice president-level positions or higher. These numbers highlight the progress made by the organization. However, TD is not stopping there. With ambitious goals in place, they aim to further increase representation for women to 45 per cent by 2025. By setting these targets, TD is actively demonstrating its commitment to fostering a more inclusive and diverse environment within the finance industry.
When COVID hit a year after she took on the role of Associate Vice President, Advisor Marketing & Digital Acquisition, Communications & Colleague Experience, Christina says she began — like many — to reevaluate her career again.
“I always used to hear people say, ‘I love what I do,’ and I always wondered, ‘Are they telling the truth?’” she questions. “I loved working at TD, but because of the pandemic, I realized my true passion was in financial planning. I wanted to get back to working with clients and to help them plan for life today as well as their future.”
With the full support of her bosses, she says she now has a career she “[knows she wants] to do every day for the rest of [her] working years.” She can also spend time with family and give back to organizations like Women in Capital Markets and TD as a Women’s Champion. Her ultimate goal is to elevate women and chip away at some of the gender biases that still exist in the financial industry.
“I’m so motivated to help other women get a start in the financial industry and to empower women clients to meet their financial goals,” she says. “The industry is evolving, the world is changing, and it’s more supportive than ever of our needs.”
She adds: “We’re now in a position where we can ask for what we want in our careers. We have role models in those who came before us. We get to be in charge of our life and career. We can see the value in speaking up, and, when that happens, the opportunities are endless.”