Compiling a list of famous women financial advisors is no easy task. There are a handful of recognizable financial journalists: Liz Pulliam Weston, Jean Chatzky, Tess Vigeland, Michelle Singletary, Farnoosh Torabi, and Jane Bryant Quinn. Yet, when it comes to famous financial advisors, the list of well-known women advisors is slim.
The two most recognizable female financial advisors are Suze Orman and Mellody Hobson. Yet, there are many other female financial advisors and planners doing quite well and whose names lack household recognition.
- Suze Orman and Mellody Hobson are two of the most famous and influential female financial advisors.
- Since 2004, Barron's has published an annual ranking of America's top 100 women financial advisors.
- This ranking highlights the achievements of women financial advisors based on total assets managed, revenue, and quality of practice.
- Karen McDonald, Susan Kaplan, Gillian Yu, and Elaine Meyers are four highly rated advisors who have a combined $86.1 billion of assets under management for their high net worth clients.
Top Women Financial Advisors
Orman and Hobson are media darlings and financial professionals. Orman started out as a stockbroker while Hobson transitioned from senior vice president and director of marketing to become president and co-Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ariel Investments.
1. Suze Orman
Suze Orman is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and one of the most recognizable financial gurus in the country. Her financial empire includes books, calculators, tools, and a resource center. 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. According to her website, Orman’s business involves media appearances and live events rather than individual client consultations.
Orman has written many popular personal finance books. These include:
- The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous and Broke
- You’ve Earned It, Don’t Lose It!
- The Laws of Money, The Lessons of Life
2. Mellody Hobson
Mellody Hobson is Chairman of the Board of Trustees and co-CEO and president of Ariel Investments, a Chicago-based mutual fund company and investment management firm. The company focuses on investing in undervalued small- to medium-sized companies. Just 10 years after graduating from Princeton University, Hobson progressed from intern to president of the company.
In addition to her work at Ariel, she's been a financial contributor to Good Morning America’s money segments and appears regularly on CBS News as a market commentator and economic trends analyst. She’s also a fierce advocate for African American financial literacy. In 2015, Hobson made the prestigious Time Magazine list of 100 most influential people in the world.
The following financial advisory celebrities may be less known to the general public but are famous in their field. These star financial advisors were among Barron's Top 100 Women Financial Advisors for 2019.
3. Karen McDonald
Karen McDonald of Morgan Stanley was ranked number one by Barron's in the 2019 survey. She has $75 billion of assets under management and directs a team of 11 that serves corporate clients, many of which are in the top Fortune 500 list. In addition to serving her corporate clients with employee benefit solutions, she also focuses on educating employees to make better financial decisions.
4. Susan Kaplan
Susan Kaplan is the president of Kaplan Financial Services in Newton, Massachusetts. She has $2.05 billion of assets under management with a minimum account size of $1.5 million. Her average client has an $11 million net worth. Kaplan has an MBA in finance and is a Certified Financial Planner. She’s been a participant in Louis Rukeyser’s Wall Street and Mutual Fund publications as well as many other financial journals. Her media presence includes Bloomberg News, CNBC, WGBH, and more.
5. Gillian Yu
Gillian Yu of Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management in San Francisco, California, holds the number five spot on the 2019 Barron’s list. Yu’s total assets under management are $5.85 billion with a minimum account size of $10 million. Her clients average a $100 million net worth. Yu is licensed as both a financial advisor and a broker. Born and raised in Taiwan and fluent in English, Mandarin, and Taiwanese, she’s able to serve international clients with ties to Asia as well as U.S.-based entrepreneurs.
6. Elaine Meyers
Elaine Meyers consistently ranks in the top 10 of Barron's list of top women financial advisors, coming in at number nine in 2019 and number eight in 2018. She is a Managing Director and Financial Advisor with J.P. Morgan Securities, focusing on wealth management strategies for executives, technology founders, and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. In 2019, her assets under management totaled $3.2 billion. Her clients have an average net worth of $300 million. Meyers has several decades in the financial advisory field with prior experience at other international investment firms.
The Bottom Line
Although most famous women financial advisors aren’t well known in celebrity circles, their accomplishments are noteworthy. Managing billions of dollars for corporations and the wealthy, they educate as well as invest for their clients. And while the total number of women in the industry is low, this list of accomplished women clearly highlights their talents and ability to thrive in a traditionally male-dominated field.