How Many Financial Advisors Are Female?

Women offer solution to industry's impending succession crisis

What will it take to increase the number of women in 401k?What will it take to increase the number of women in 401k?

Female advisors, 401k and otherwise, still represent only a small fraction of the overall industry, according to new research from  Cerulli Associates.

The Boston-based Cerulli finds that women nonetheless offer a solution to the industry’s impending succession crisis and talent shortage as advisor retirement accelerates.

“Women represent only 15.7 percent of the 310,504 financial advisors in the industry,” Marina Shtyrkov, an analyst at Cerulli, said in a statement. “Women remain outnumbered in financial advisor communities despite efforts to recruit more female advisors; only 16 in every 100 advisors are women.”

“Close to 40 percent of advisors plan to retire within the next 10 years, leaving the industry scrambling to groom replacements,” Shtyrkov added. “Women present an untapped talent pool that offers a solution to the industry’s recruiting problems. By expanding their focus and altering their recruiting strategies to appeal directly to female candidates, broker-dealers (BDs) and RIA custodians can help fill the gaps left by retiring advisors.”

The reasons driving women to become advisors can differ from those that inspire men to enter the industry.

“Nearly all female rookie advisors consider the desire to help people reach their goals to be a major factor for becoming an advisor,” Shtyrkov says. “BDs and custodians will have better success recruiting prospective women advisors and safeguarding against a future headcount shortage if they accentuate the social impact that an advisor has when working with people to achieve their financial goals.”

“A BD’s most powerful tool in recruiting female rookies is its existing group of established women advisors,” Shtyrkov adds.

Cerulli believes that established women advisors can dispel negative perceptions about the industry that deter some women from considering advising a career option.

By sharing their experiences, these women can address misconceptions about what it means to be an advisor as well as offer transparency into the profession.

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