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Famous Women Financial Advisors

Top women financial advisors whose names you should know

Compiling a list of famous women financial advisors is no easy task. That’s because among famous financial advisors, the list of women who are well known is slim. The most recognizable is media star Suze Orman.

The rest of the women included below may not be known to the general public, but they are famous in their field for being high achievers. These star financial advisors rank among Barron’s Top 100 Women Financial Advisors of 2021 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.
  • They are among those included in Barron’s annual ranking of America’s top 100 women financial advisors, which highlights their 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 bestselling personal finance books, including You’ve Earned It, Don’t Lose It! and The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous and Broke.

2. Karen McDonald

Karen McDonald, managing director at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, ranked number one in the 2021 survey, and second in 2020. She has more than $210.1 billion in assets under management (AUM) and directs a team of 16 that serves more than 53,000 client households. McDonald has more than 40 years of investment experience.

3. Holly Newman Kroft

Ranking second on Barron's list, Holly Newman Kroft is a managing director at Neuberger Berman. Kroft's team of eight, based in New York City, manage 215 client households and $4.2 billion in AUM. Kroft ranked eleventh in 2020.

4. Kimberlee Orth

Kimberlee Orth was ranked number three by Barron’s in 2021, moving down from first in 2020. An advisor with her eponymous Orth Financial Group, a private wealth advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, she manages $2.2 billion in assets for 1,168 households and has a 20-member team. Orth, whose career spans 34 years, regularly appears in Barron’s rankings.

5. Valerie Houts

Valerie Houts, senior financial advisor at the Venture Services Group runs a team of 52 and $59.6 billion in AUM. As a part of Merrill Lynch's private wealth division, Houts is responsible for domestic and foreign equity distributions, working primarily with private equity and venture capital funds. In 2020, Houts was ranked ninth by Barron's, but moved up to fourth in 2021.

6. Valerie Newell

Valerie Newell is principal and senior wealth advisor of Mariner Wealth Advisors in Cincinnati. Her team of 47 manages 1,377 client households with a combined $4.8 billion in assets. She ranked fifth and has 34 years of experience in the business.

7. Deborah Montaperto

Deborah Montaperto is a managing director and private wealth advisor at Morgan Stanley and partner of the Polk Wealth Management Group, part of the bank’s private wealth management division. Based in Palm Beach, Fla., Montaperto has a 30-person team that advises on more than $40.5 billion in assets for 243 clients, who have an average net worth of $150 million. Montaperto moved down to sixth in 2021 from fifth in the 2020 rankings and has been included since 2010.

8. Gillian Yu

Gillian Yu, managing director at Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management in San Francisco, holds the number seven spot on the Barron’s list. Yu manages $7.8 billion in assets for 50 clients. Her ultra-high-net-worth clients have an average net worth of $100 million. Born and raised in Taiwan, Yu is fluent in English, Mandarin, and Taiwanese. She ranked eighth in 2020.

9. Stephanie J. Stiefel

Stephanie J. Stiefel is managing director and head of client development for the Straus Group, part of Neuberger Berman’s private asset management division. Ranking eighth on Barron's rankings, the group manages $2.9 billion in assets for 225 clients with an average net worth of $45 million.

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 highlights their talents and ability to thrive in a traditionally male-dominated field.

Who are the Top Women Financial Advisors?

The most well-known in the field is 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 AUM and quality of practice. In 2021, the top advisors included Karen McDonald, Holly Newman Kroft, Kimberlee Orth, and Valerie Houts.

Who Is Karen McDonald?

Karen McDonald was ranked number one on Barron's Top Women Financial Advisors in 2021. Based in Palo Alto, California, McDonald oversees $210.1 billion in assets. McDonald's team of 16 are responsible for 53,000 client households, one of the largest wealth management businesses in the United States.

Article Sources

Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy.
  1. Suze Orman. “About Suze Orman.”

  2. Barron's. "Karen McDonald."

  3. Barron's. "Holly Newman Kroft."

  4. Barron's. "Kimberlee Orth."

  5. Barron's. "Valerie Houts."

  6. Barron’s. “Valerie Newell.”

  7. Barron’s. “Deborah Montaperto.”

  8. Barron’s. “Gillian Yu.”

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

  10. Barron's. "2021 Top Women Financial Advisors."

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