Female advisers: The missed opportunity

May 5, 2013 @ 12:01 am

By Frederick P. Gabriel Jr.

Considering that 69% of financial advisers are male, it appears that the profession is not exactly a bastion of gender equality.

The number of financial advisers in the U.S. is on track to grow 32% between 2010 and 2020, and with that growth comes a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to inspire and recruit more female advisers.

Why do we want more women to become financial advisers?

Forget the fact that studies have shown companies with a higher percentage of women among their senior executive ranks tend to outperform companies with a lower percentage. Forget also that women tend to be more relationship-minded and that the business of delivering financial advice is all about relationships.

Never mind that women control $14 trillion in personal wealth and that by 2020, that figure is expected to reach $22 trillion.

The No. 1 reason for bringing more women on board is so that the industry will look more like the customers it serves. Women make up 51% of the world's population and they should account for a similar percentage of the financial adviser workforce.

If they don't, the financial advice industry forever will be out of touch with the people it professes to serve.

In an effort to raise awareness, InvestmentNews will produce a series of stories and videos throughout the year that looks closely at the lack of female advisers. As part of that series, “Women in Advice,” we also will dig deep into the obstacles women traditionally face in advancing in the profession.

The basic problem

In the first part of the series, InvestmentNews reporter Liz Skinner lays out the problem: Even though demand for female advisers is strong, the job's appeal to women is relatively weak. In her story, we hear from Alexandra Armstrong, a 40-year veteran of the financial services industry.

The fact that female advisers earn less than their male counterparts is not the only reason why fewer women elect to become advisers, said Ms. Armstrong, who founded Armstrong, Fleming & Moore Inc. in 1983.

“We are always surprised by how few women choose to make a lot of money at this business,” Ms. Armstrong said. “Other women have said, "If I can have flexible hours and have a certain number of clients, that makes me happy.'”

As part of Women in Advice, we will profile several female advisers and hear about what it has taken for them to succeed in this male-dominated business. Conversely, we will look at what advisory firms are doing — or not doing — to recruit more women.

In addition, InvestmentNews — in partnership with the Investment Program Association — next month will hold a Women's Forum, a half-day event focused on mentoring and advancing women's issues in the financial services industry. More information about the forum, which will be held June 19 in New York, can be found here.

0
Comments

What do you think?

View comments

Recommended for you

Featured video

Events

How to explain risk to a client

Most investors know investing involves risks as well as rewards and that the higher the risk, the greater the potential reward. But there are different types of risk and some are easier to understand than others, says Kendrick Wakeman of FinMason.

Latest news & opinion

Nontraded BDC sales in worst year since 2010

The illiquid product's three-year decline is partially due to new regulations and poor performance.

Tax reform debate sparks fresh interest in donor-advised funds

Schwab reports new accounts up 50% from last year, assets up 33%.

Nontraded REITs to post worst sales since 2002

The industry is on track to raise just $4.4 billion, well off the $19.6 billion it raised just four years ago, as new regulations hinder sales.

Broker protocol for recruiting a boon for clients

New research finds advisers whose firms have joined the agreement take better care of customers.

Meet our 2017 Women to Watch

Introducing 20 female financial advisers and industry executives who are distinguished leaders, advancing the business of providing advice through their creativity and hard work.

X

Subscribe and Save 60%

Premium Access
Print + Digital

Learn more
Subscribe to Print