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Industry Spotlight > Women in Wealth

Meet the Winners of the Excell Women in Wealth Management Awards

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Carson Group — along with Fidelity Institutional, Financial Independence and Mariner Wealth Advisors — have announced the winners of the inaugural Excell REPRESENT Women in Wealth Management Awards at an event in Nashville.

Also this week, Carson Group published the results of a report that looks at the experiences and perception of women and men on the opportunities and challenges female advisors in the financial services industry face.

The Excell REPRESENT awards celebrate and honor the women — and men — who are making a difference in financial advice, the representation of women in the field and in their communities.

The 2022 awards recognize these advisors for their achievement in five areas:

Community Influence Award: This award, which highlights a woman who is using her platform or area of expertise to give back to her community in a meaningful way that generates a lasting effect on that community, went to Stacy Francis, president and CEO of Francis Financial and founder of Savvy Ladies.

Industry Transformer Award: The award, which honors a woman who is driving transformation and innovation in wealth management and someone who is bringing real change for the overall betterment of our industry at large or those we serve, went to Kristi Martin Rodriguez, senior vice president, Nationwide Retirement Institute

Rising Star Award: The award recognizes a woman with five or fewer years in the industry and who is making a difference in wealth management, to her clients and through volunteerism. This year’s winner is Lindsey Lewis, director and chair, The American College Center for Women in Financial Services.

Mentor of the Year Award: The award, which is open to both men and women who have acted as both mentors and allies to many women in the wealth management industry, went to Kay Lynn Mayhue, president, Merit Financial Advisors.

Career of Excellence Award: This honor, which recognizes a woman who has been in the financial advice profession for a minimum of 20 years and who has demonstrated success and leadership in her career, went to Carina Diamond, chief growth officer, Dakota Wealth Management.

Barriers to Success

Although women comprise more than half of the U.S. population, less than a quarter of financial advisors are women, a figure that has remained largely flat for the last 10 years, according to the CFP Board.

Carson Group’s report found that female advisors confront many of the same challenges as their male counterparts: growing a book of business, operational efficiency and dealing with clients’ emotional responses to the market.

However, 88% of survey respondents said women face additional barriers that men are less likely to have to deal with:

  • Balancing professional role with caregiving obligations: 73%
  • Difficulties finding a firm that is a culture fit: 70%
  • Difficulty finding a mentor: 57%
  • Challenges in prospecting for new clients: 34%
  • Other: 25%

Forty-seven percent of “other” write-in responses indicated that gender-based discrimination in the workplace remains a significant barrier for success in the wealth management industry.

The report’s findings were based on a survey of 335 financial advice professionals, 78.6% female and 21.4% male.

“We focus much of our energy on the recruitment of women, which is important too,” Julie Ragatz, vice president for next gen and advisor development programs at Carson Group, said in a statement. “But none of these barriers keep women out of the industry. They keep them from staying.”

Only 13% of female advisors in the survey believed that clients rarely take gender into account when selecting a financial advisor, compared with 26% of male advisors. This has a direct effect on a woman’s ability to grow her book of business, Carson Group said.

In addition, 54% of female respondents strongly disagreed or disagreed with the statement that financial advisors rarely take gender into account when seeking partners for joint work.

They said that in their experience, gender indeed plays a negative role in receiving offers for joint work from other advisors, hindering long-term advancement.


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