Lessons Learned from Top Women Advisors

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In an industry of approximately 300,000 financial advisors nationwide, women financial advisors are still few and far between. In 2016 only 16% of advisors were women, according to research firm Cerulli Associates, although the number could be increasing.1 Why such underrepresentation when women are expected to control two-thirds of the nation’s wealth by 2030,2 and are already the primary breadwinners in almost half of American households?3

The financial advisor profession can be a rewarding, albeit challenging, career path. We asked some of our own successful women financial advisors about their experiences in the industry and working in what is often perceived as a nontraditional field. Specifically we wanted to know about the biggest obstacles they overcame and what advice they would give a young woman today who wants to enter their field.

“Don’t be afraid to ask for help.”

– Lyn Cameron, CFP®, Senior Vice President, Financial Advisor, Portland, OR

I entered an industry training program at 22 years old, but felt I lacked the confidence and knowledge to successfully recommend investments. So I decided to work in other areas of the firm and later returned to being a financial advisor with more education, confidence and capability. To young people entering the field, I would recommend seeking ongoing education as it relates to the industry, portfolio management, client servicing and/or wealth management. Also, surround yourself with good people who excel in the things you don’t. If you become a financial advisor, remember your clients’ interests always come first.

“Entering the field as a client associate was a great start.”

– Stephanie Bennett, CFP®, CWS®, Senior Vice President, Portfolio Manager, Los Angeles, CA

I started as a client associate before becoming an advisor. It was a wonderful place to learn the business, gain experience and listen to how other advisors conducted business. I now see that building and maintaining relationships is one of the biggest parts of my job and the most enjoyable. The opportunities are great for women in financial services! Working in this industry has allowed me the flexibility to raise my family and structure my work schedule so that I am able to have free afternoons to see my daughter’s after-school activities. It is a very relational business.

“It takes discipline, strategy and hard work.”

– Nancy Hadley, CFP®, CWS®, Senior Vice President, Financial Advisor, Coeur d’Alene, ID

We are working in a very tough and competitive environment. Essentially you are running a business inside a business. It is essential to find a mentor and coach. The D.A. Davidson Women Financial Advisors’ Network provided a great support system for me. My career is both extremely satisfying and rewarding, and as a financial advisor, I can have a lasting and meaningful impact on others’ lives. Financial health is such a vital component of life. Being able to help clients take control of their financial future and make good financial decisions is what I love the most.




The information contained herein has been obtained by sources we consider reliable, but is not guaranteed and we are not soliciting any action based upon it. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and based on the data available at the time of the original publication.

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Comments (1)
  • One challenge I’ve seen over the years is that the public sort of ASSUMES men are competent–but may not be trustworthy. The public seems to ASSUME that females are trustworthy but may not be competent. It is harder to prove one is competent than it is to demonstrate being trustworthy. So, in general, people assume the men are competent so ‘what is there to lose”—whereas with females FAs the general public is just not as sure of our competency.

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