Famous Women Financial Advisors

Top women financial advisors whose names you should know

Compiling a list of famous women financial advisors can be challenging because among famous financial advisors, the list of women who are well-known is slim. The most recognizable may be media star Suze Orman.

The rest of the women included below may not be familiar to the general public, but they are famous in their industry for being high achievers. Many of these star financial advisors and wealth managers rank among Barron’s Top 100 Women Financial Advisors of 2022 and manage billions in assets.

Key Takeaways

  • Suze Orman is one of the most famous and influential women financial advisors.
  • Other women financial advisors may not be household names, but they are high achievers in their field.
  • Most are included in Barron’s annual ranking of America’s top 100 women financial advisors, which highlights achievements based on total assets managed, revenue, and quality of practice.

1. Suze Orman

Suze Orman is a certified financial planner (CFP) and one of the most recognizable financial gurus in the country. She hosted “The Suze Orman Show” on CNBC for 13 years and continues to make frequent appearances on various media outlets. Orman also hosts a podcast called Women & Money. Her one-stop financial planning empire covers every area of one’s financial life, offering everything from a debt eliminator and expense tracker tool to various estate planning tools and an insurance evaluator kit.

Orman has written many best-selling personal finance books, including You’ve Earned It, Don’t Lose It and The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous & Broke.

2. Karen McDonald

Karen McDonald, managing director at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, ranked No. 1 in both the 2022 and 2021 surveys done annually by Barron's of top female financial advisors. She has more than $180 billion in assets under management (AUM) and directs a team of 16 that serves more than 48,000 client households. McDonald has more than 40 years of investment experience, including 30 years at Morgan Stanley. She's based in Palo Alto, California.

3. Holly Newman Kroft

Ranking second on Barron’s 2022 list, Holly Newman Kroft is a managing director at Neuberger Berman. Kroft’s team of nine, based in New York City, manage 199 client households and $3.3 billion in AUM. Kroft also ranked second on the Barron's list in 2021.

4. Valerie Newell

Valerie Newell was ranked No. 3 by Barron's in 2022, moving up from fifth place in 2021. She manages $4.5 billion in AUM for 1,496 client households. Newell is a principal and senior wealth advisor at Mariner Wealth Advisors. She oversees a team of 53 and is based in Cincinnati.

5. Deborah Montaperto

Deborah Montaperto is a managing director and private wealth advisor at Morgan Stanley and partner of Polk Wealth Management Group, part of the bank’s private wealth management division. Based in Palm Beach, Florida, Montaperto has a 31-person team that advises on more than $30 billion in assets for 262 client households, who have an average net worth of $250 million. Montaperto ranked fourth in 2022, up from sixth in Barron's rankings and has been included since 2010.

6. Stephanie J. Stiefel

Stephanie J. Stiefel is managing director and head of client development for Straus Group, part of Neuberger Berman’s private asset management division. Ranking fifth on Barron’s rankings for 2022, up from eighth in 2021, Stiefel's group manages $3.1 billion in assets for 227 clients with an average net worth of $45 million. She's based in New York City.

7. Johanna Walters

Johanna Walters manages the assets of 770 clients with a team of 17. A managing director at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, she came in sixth on Barron's rankings in 2022, up from ninth in 2021. A typical client under her management has household assets of $12 million. She has been with her current firm for 20 years and works in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania.

8. Gillian Yu

Gillian Yu has been a managing director at Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management for more than seven years. She came in seventh on Barron's list of top women financial advisors for 2022, maintaining her 2021 position. She manages $9.8 billion with a team of three and is based in San Francisco. Each of the 40 client households she manages has a typical net worth of $100 million.

9. Susan Kaplan

Susan Kaplan has been president at Kaplan Financial Services Inc. for 30 years. Together with a team of 11, she manages $2.4 billion for 150 client households with a typical net worth of $10 million. Kaplan is based in Newton, Massachusetts. In 2022, Kaplan came in at No. 8 on Barron's ranking of top women financial advisors, up from 10th in 2021.

10. Colleen O'Callaghan

Colleen O'Callaghan is a managing director at JPMorgan Wealth Management in New York City and a founding member of The O'Callaghan Thomas Group. She rose to rank No. 9 in Barron's top women financial advisors for 2022, up from 11 the year before. Her clients' typical net worth is about $75 million.

Who Are the Top Women Financial Advisors?

The most well-known in the field is personal finance expert Suze Orman. Orman, who hosted “The Suze Orman Show” on CNBC for 13 years, started her career as a stockbroker at Merrill Lynch. In addition, Barron’s publishes an annual list of the top 100 women financial advisors, based on assets under management (AUM) and quality of practice. In 2022, the top advisors included Karen McDonald, Holly Newman Kroft, Valerie Newell, and Deborah Montaperto.

What Are Assets Under Management (AUM)?

Assets under management (AUM) is the total market value of the investments that a person or entity manages on behalf of clients. AUM definitions and formulas vary by company or financial institution.

How Can I Find a Woman Financial Advisor?

Nearly 40% of all financial advisors are women, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. To find the right one for you, start by looking for someone who is successful. You can look at the Investopedia 100 ranking of the best financial advisors. You can also look at industry organizations such as the Women and Finance working group of the Financial Planning Association and the Women's Initiative of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors.

The Bottom Line

Although most famous women financial advisors aren’t household names, their accomplishments are noteworthy. And while the total number of women in the financial services industry is low, this list of accomplished women clearly the talents and skills needed to thrive in a traditionally male-dominated field.

Article Sources
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  1. Barron's. "2022 Top Women Financial Advisors."

  2. Suze Orman. “About Suze Orman.”

  3. Barron’s. “Karen McDonald.”

  4. Barron’s. “Holly Newman Kroft.”

  5. Barron's. "Valerie Newell."

  6. Barron's. "Deborah Montaperto."

  7. NYU Arts & Science. "Stephanie J. Stiefel."

  8. Barron's. "Stephanie J. Stiefel."

  9. Barron's. "Johanna Walters."

  10. Barron's. "Gillian Yu."

  11. Barron's. "Susan Kaplan."

  12. J.P. Morgan Wealth Management. "Colleen O'Callaghan."

  13. Bloomberg. "How Did I Get Here? Suze Orman."

  14. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Women in the Labor Force: A Databook."

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