A place for Female Advisors?

By Sonja Borda, CFP®,CDFA® posted 07-21-2016 23:39


I am a newly credentialed CFP®

After the arduous process of completing all the required study, experience and ethics requirements. I FINALLY did it. I earned the right to use the marks. And now an brave new world awaits me. Energized by the successful culmination of my efforts, I embarked on my search in earnest. I joined FPA, thought carefully about my goals and scoured the web for a firm to associate myself with next. A complicated and thrilling search. 

You see now I work for a large institution that does not have the capacity to engage in complex financial planning, so I see that while the corporation has been good to me it is time for a new home for my skills.  No more crushing volumes of phone calls; instead I seek face to face complex financial planning.

As I searched the metroplex and sought out my fellow CFP colleagues, I noticed a pattern. ALL of them are male. No female CFPs anywhere. The exception to the female representation is for support staff.  Alternately a very few female CFPs started their own firms. If these females did... all the employees are all female. Exclusively. No males anywhere. 

Lord of the Flies Vs Little Women.

Where is the happy medium? We are better, stronger together. A well diversified portfolio weathers any storm better than a concentrated position.We understand that when selecting an investment portfolio for our clients. Why won't we do that for ourselves?

When I talk to my fellow CFP®s I can see in their eyes disbelief. I privately wonder: Did I become a Unicorn instead of a CFP®? 

So I wonder, is my community ready for female CFPs or do I need to stay under the protective hedge of an Institution until the culture gradually adjusts. How long will that be, anyway?

Is anyone else seeing the same situation? 





01-08-2018 13:01

​Thanks Amy!
Since I posted this article I have joined a community firm in Denton, TX. I have been her about a year. There IS opportunity here. Do you know I am the only female CFP(r) with a community firm within 20 miles? Yep. Turns out women in Denton are terrified of finances.
So I've focused my efforts on being a trustworthy, woman who puts them at ease and understands how to talk to ... well us. I have a handful of clients so far and am building. It is an uphill, but rewarding battle and it's worth winning.
I have been fortunate to work at a firm where our top advisors are women. Although it is a male dominated industry, women can be quite successful in this business. I would suggest not putting anything on hold; the opportunity is there. 


10-20-2016 08:56

My business partner and CIO is female with 31 years experience in our industry.  I have 30 years experience.  We have both male and female associate advisors.  I think you are misinterpreting what you are seeing.  The average lead advisor has 12 years experience.  The average senior advisor has 21 years experience.  you are interpreting females as in staff roles.  What i see is very, very few females with sufficient experience to be lead or senior advisors.  Those who want to be senior advisors without the many years of experience open their own firms.  Based on the demographics of our industry, I predict 15 years from now the majority of newly minted lead and senior advisors will be female. 

Hello Ladies,

I am an academician and a CFP professional. The stats worry me a lot specially when I am teaching young black females to become CFP professionals. Do you think we can organize one-day conference for female CFP professionals? I will be happy to get things rolling and can even try to get space at the university for the conference.

Let me know you thoughts?



08-25-2016 19:48

As a long time Female CPF, I want to applaud your accomplishment and recognize your journey, courage and frustration;.  There actually are quite a few of us out there and we have amazing things to offer the public. My own partner, Catalina Franco-Cicero was a mentee through the FPA mentorship program.  We went through 5 years together of her working on the designation, trying out corporate companies and finally joining forces last year to create a new company.  She just recieved her notification today (contrats can go to [email protected])  

While she can tell you her personal journey, I have seen many women struggle with the corporate environment.  Please join the mentorship program and find a woman entrepreneur who can help you on your journey. You can deliver quality advice to individuals and make a great living but you do have to develop those entrepreurial  skills.


A shout out to all the women who have gone on this journey are on it.  Please reach out if you need encouragement and support. We are here for you and ready for you to make a difference!


08-09-2016 19:10

Hi Sonja - congratulations! I hope you're appropriately celebrating such a major achievement. It has been interesting navigating this field as a relatively new CFP® myself. I'm fortunate to work for a firm of supportive people where women are the majority of planners at this point. I've found that many of our clients actively seek female planners, so the world is definitely ready for us, if not been waiting for us. Would love to chat more with you about your experience and bounce ideas around if you need someone to chat with. [email protected]. Cheers!


I am an independent financial planner with my own RIA firm. I belong to an organization called The Alliance of Comprehensive Planners (ACP). We are an organization of independent fee-only financial planners who practice under a common approach and methodology, yet each firm is unique and distinct in its specific make up and processes. There are many wonderful women in this organization with their own firms that include both male and female employees. I can put you in contact with some of them if you are interested in finding out more about how they became successful and how they run their firms.



07-27-2016 12:57

Hi there.  Like you, I'm a female CFP, and in February of this year I made the decision to leave a traditional firm so I could pursue a greater focus on planning.  I created my own "solopreneur" firm, Sage Financial Advice.  Yes, female planners are definitely a minority in our chosen field, but that also allows us an opportunity to build a unique practice that might appeal more to a certain client.  Would love to touch base anytime and compare notes - feel free to contact me!  [email protected].