Women control the purse strings — so where are all the female advisers?

Less than half of RIAs have a female investment adviser on staff, suvery finds: 'wow'

Apr 26, 2012 @ 2:55 pm

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When Charles Schwab decided to ask advisers about their female clients, it expected to hear that women were about as involved as men in handling their investments. What it didn't expect was that advisers are more likely to be behind the curve in promoting women's involvement.

In a survey of about 900 RIAs representing $204 billion in assets under management, Schwab actually found that women are the key decision makers in about six out of 10 client relationships, according to the survey. For those in relationships, 21% were the primary or sole financial decision makers, according to the survey. Another 38% were equal partners and made decisions jointly.

The kicker? Half the advisers said there were no female advisers working at their firms.

"Some of the answers you look at and say, ‘Wow,'" said Bernie Clark, executive vice president and head of Schwab Advisor Services, a unit of The Charles Schwab Corp.

Not having a woman on staff puts a firm out of alignment with women's growing investment role, Mr. Clark said. "It is becoming more important to have a woman adviser," he said.

The firm conducts the survey every six months or so to gauge advisers' economic outlook.

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