In the aftermath of the financial crisis and the ensuing recession, the only businesses that have provided a net increase in employment in the U.S. over the past six years are large, publicly traded corporations and privately held majority women-owned firms, according to the “2013 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report” commissioned by American Express OPEN (the leading payment card issuer for small businesses).
That’s quite a milestone and a testament to the progress of female enterprise since the Women’s Business Ownership Act, H.R. 5050, was signed into law 25 years ago on Oct. 25, 1988. Today, the growth and dynamism of women-owned businesses in the U.S. serves as both inspiration and a model to emulate for other countries.
In the traditionally male-dominated financial advisory business, things aren’t so bad either.
Many firms in the industry have started women initiative programs aimed at recruiting and retaining more women and supporting women advisors in developing leadership skills, says Kathleen Kingsbury, founder of consulting and training firm KBK Wealth Connection.
“This really speaks to the shift in the industry in the last 25 years with women clients holding the majority of the wealth in the U.S. and female advisors being well positioned to tap into those affluent clients,” she says. Firms started by women are more common and I think a trend to be on the lookout for.”
Today, it’s no more or less difficult for a woman to open an advisory business, given that regulation and general competition poses the same challenges to both genders, says Angie Herbers, founder and senior consultant at Angie Herbers Inc.
However, women are not opening as many advisory firms as one might expect because as a woman advisor, going to work for another is very lucrative today, says Herbers, who’s also a ThinkAdvisor blogger and Investment Advisor columnist.
“I find many women opting for a career in an existing firm with a partnership track over opening their own,” she says. “Moreover, women are in demand within firms… and the economics of starting a business vs. working for another firm don’t match, since women advisors make a lot more, with less risk, taking a position in a firm than starting their own.”