Female Financial Advisors Helping Women
The share of female financial advisors remains frustratingly low. This is not news. One estimate by the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that 31% of financial advisors are women, though Barron’s puts that number closer to 20%. Nor is it news that the share of women advisors has increased in recent years—a welcome sign of progress. Nevertheless, despite industry and individual efforts to recruit and retain female financial advisors, progress has been disappointing. Why is that?
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Female Financial Advisors Helping Women
The share of female financial advisors remains frustratingly low. One estimate by the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that 31% of financial advisors are women, though Barron’s puts that number closer to 20%. The Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®) Board estimates that 23% of CFPs are women.1
This is not news. Nor is it news that the share of female financial advisors has increased in recent years—a welcome sign of progress. The American Portfolios white paper, Women in Finance: A Roadmap for Progress, shows why financial services may be a great career choice for women. Nevertheless, despite industry and individual efforts to recruit and retain female advisors, progress has been disappointing. Why is that?
The Obstacles to Greater Female Participation
Initiatives to drive greater female participation in financial services must be based on an understanding of the reasons why women are not attracted to the profession in the first place, or are unwilling to make a career of it.
According to a survey by Cerulli Associates, misunderstandings about the financial advisor profession and recruitment are only part of a larger set of obstacles. In speaking with female financial advisors, they found:2
- 78% of respondents cited limited visibility of women in leadership roles (i.e., women are more likely to do a better job of hiring women)
- 77% of women advisors cited insufficient mentoring from successful advisors
- 76% felt there was an implicit bias
- More than a third felt a disconnection from colleagues, a lack of advancement or development opportunities, and unsupportive management
Finding Solutions Rooted in Reality
Current efforts to educate young women about the profession shouldn’t be ignored, though such efforts need to be focused more on the personal satisfaction derived from helping people than on the financial rewards and challenges of success. Outreach to schools and young women’s groups remain essential, but it is not enough.
Any solution will require a deep and continuing commitment by women advisors. There is a whole generation of experienced female financial advisors that can assume real leadership in shaping the future of the wealth management industry.
Successful women advisors need to look for ways to hire, support and mentor young female advisors. These efforts can be as far ranging as creating a mentorship program at an advisor’s practice to developing practice management and professional development programs targeted to women and presenting them at industry conferences or via webinars.
Women can lobby their broker/dealers and other service provider platforms to encourage the formation of women’s networking groups that promote sharing of insights, new business ideas and women’s success in wealth management.
Our article, Finance Fairy Godmothers: Empowering Future Generations of Women, is a powerful look at women supporting women in financial endeavors. As a whole, women tend to have a subdued comfort level in self-advocacy; only by standing with each other and realizing their worth will women advance in the workplace.
While it may take a village to raise the female share of advisors, the power of individual action to effect change shouldn’t be discounted … nor should it wait on others to act.
Please reference disclosures: https://blog.americanportfolios.com/disclosures/