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To Get Lower Fees, Hire a Female Financial Advisor

By Hal M. Bundrick

NEW YORK (MainStreet) If you are looking for a financial consultant and are concerned about fees, chances are you'll get a better price break if you hire a female advisor. A new study from PriceMetrix, a software and data services company, shows women advisors price more consistently and charge slightly less than their male counterparts.

Tapping a database of seven million retail investors, 500 million transactions and over $3.5 trillion in investment assets, the research found women "price more consistently than men."

Among female advisors, the range of advisors offering discounts compared to those who charge a premium fee on assets under management is less than 1%: 0.34% at the low end to 1.29% on the upper end. Among male advisors, the range is well over 1%: 0.33% to 1.58%. While male and female advisors have about the same percentage of fee-based business (22% for men and 21% for women), the research concludes male advisors charge slightly more than women.

Based on overall revenue on assets (ROA), men charge 0.77% ROA compared to 0.73% for the typical female advisor. PriceMetrix says the difference is largely due to the pricing of transactional business, such as stock trades. The typical male charges 0.58% ROA on transactional business versus 0.54% among women. On fee-based accounts, those from each sex charge about the same: 1.13% for women, 1.14% for men.

PriceMetrix estimates the proportion of female advisors in North America at 12%.

The typical female advisor has slightly more women as clients than men, 51% versus 49%, while the typical male advisor has more men than women, 56% compared to 44%.

According to the study, female financial advisors typically consult 56 large households, defined as having $250,000 or more in assets, and 72 small households. The median male advisor, on the other hand, has 51 large households and 78 smaller ones. The average household for women has $178,000 in investment assets versus $152,000 for men.

"We have consistently found over time that advisors do better when they concentrate on large households and pare back their smaller ones," says Doug Trott, president and CEO of PriceMetrix. "Bigger clients and more consistent pricing, not to mention a higher proportion of female clients, are significant advantages. "Taken together, these factors suggest women advisors are better positioned than men for future success."

--Written by Hal M. Bundrick for MainStreet