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US States Lack Women Financial Advisors Where They Are Needed Most - New Data

Eliane Chavagnon

26 June 2013

The presence of women financial advisors does not match current market potential represented by single women investors in the US, new data suggests.

Information Asset Partners and Meridian-IQ said so much has been written about the lack of women in the advisory profession that they decided to quantify it. There are around 9 million households headed by single women with over $100,000 in investable assets - representing about a quarter of the 38 million US households headed by women - and their affinity for using financial advisors is escalating, the firms said. 

A fifth of all advisors are women, but IAP forecasts a 60 per cent increase on a national basis through 2015. Similarly, the Luxury Institute recently predicted that in only two decades women will achieve the same or more success as men in terms of being in management positions, running businesses, earning money and overall net worth. Interestingly, a study by Pershing earlier this year claimed that women are “critical” to the future of wealth management. However, the number of female advisors is dwindling from its present level of 30 per cent, it said, concluding: “Women advisors can help unlock a variety of new market opportunities, ranging from divorcing women to younger investors.”

Looking at the new data across individual states, the industry is “not mirroring its clients” in terms of where women financial advisors are located within the broker-dealers, wirehouses and RIAs. It is worth mentioning that while the data represents women with over $100,000 in investable assets, the findings are indicative of a broader wealth management industry topic that has been in the limelight for some time.

The financial advisory industry should be compelled to “not only take action, but specifically where it is most needed,” said Cecile Munoz, president of US Executive Search.

“If one removed the 'women' from the title and presented these findings to a wealth management executive resources would flow immediately to address this opportunity. 'Women' are not a segment or a trend. They are the AuM imperative. Firms must work toward a comprehensive, sustainable strategy to win, retain, and grow mass affluent and high net worth clients: This includes recruiting, outreach, marketing, and evolving their cultures,” Munoz said.    


Ten states represent 55 per cent of the nation's wealthy single women and about 60 per cent of women financial advisors. The data points to a bit of a mismatch. California, for example, represents 12.3 per cent of the total single women market, yet it ranks 41st in presence of women at RIAs. By contrast, Ohio and Georgia are two states with high advisor affinity, but they rank low in presence.  

Meanwhile, states representing smaller markets dominate the top ten ranking for women in RIAs and active registered representatives, the firms said. At the top, 13 per cent of firms in West Virginia have at least one woman advisor, while this is the case at 11.4 per cent of firms in New Mexico. Following is Texas (8.6 per cent); North Dakota (8 per cent); Rhode Island (7.7 per cent); Florida (7.4 per cent); South Carolina (6 per cent); Oklahoma (5.8 per cent); Missouri (4.8 per cent); and Michigan (4.8 per cent). Florida, Texas, Ohio and Georgia are the only states that rank high in financial advisor affinity growth.

"The data driving the report's state rankings make it imperative that marketers use relevant, localized market intelligence to their advantage. Florida and Texas are projected to experience advisor-favorable increases over 80 per cent; Nevada over 170 per cent, New York only 43 per cent," said Raisa Suhir, IAP's managing director of analytics.

From a wealth management prospective, women are a high potential clientele, IAP and Meridian-IQ noted. But in order to tap that opportunity, and concentrate efforts in the states where that is greatest, firms will need to hire more women advisors - in the places where they appear to be needed the most.