“It's hard to serve underserved communities if you don't have people who are members of those communities who are advisors,” explains Leighann Miko, founder of Equalis Financial.
By cultivating an environment that supports women — as well as Black, Indigenous and people of color; and LGBTQ people — advisors, firms and the industry as a whole can rise to meet the needs of diverse investors and work to close the wealth gap.
Right now, just 15% to 20% of all advisors are women.
This disparity is a top-down problem: 99% of investment management firms are owned by white men; 85% of executives and 74% of senior managers are men. It’s little surprise these leaders haven’t created a culture that attracts and retains women, who need a work environment they might not understand.
“We have a lot on our plate,” says Nourse, whose firm employs and serves a large number of professional women. “We have a job, we're taking care of our kids, we're taking care of family members. And we need to have a lot of flexibility to be in and out of that office.”
A lot of women have been blazing this trail for decades, surviving as the sole female advisor in a firm full of men and deliberately serving women and other underserved communities — but the industry still has a long way to go.
“The door’s cracked open,” says Nourse. “We [women advisors] need to, since we're already in the industry, kick it open. … Make sure you bring in two or three other people. Just don't get in the door and close the door behind you.”