This weekend Barron's published its list of top financial advisors who happen to be female. We also publish "top 100 financial advisors" lists, but we don't sort by sex. We simply rank retail financial advisors on AUMs. We do sort by channel: Top 100 RIAs (in our soon-to-be-published July issue), Top 100 Independent FAs (August issue), Top 100 Wirehouse FAs (September issue) and we intend to publish other "top FA" lists (such as top bank channel FAs) in the future. But I just don't see any benefit in sorting FAs based on their sex or, for that matter, their age, the color of their skin, their religion or their ethnicity. So, we won't be doing that here at Registered Rep.
On the other hand, from our publisher's point of view, I can see what a nice "ad trap" publishing a Top 100 Women Financial Advisors list presents. We here at Registered Rep. magazine prefer to judge individuals on their merits, their talent. It's funny: Barron's and its sister publication, The Wall Street Journal, are rather free-market-oriented publications. The Wall Street Journal---whose motto is, Free markets, free minds, free men---tends to skewer "identity politics" (see recent opinion pieces about Judge Sonia Sotomayor, for example). In fact, the Journal advocates color/gender neutrality in business, politics and, in general, all human action. So, it's somewhat amusing to me that Barron's would sort a financial advisor list based on sex.
Oh, and just remember: In the weekly's annual Top 100 Financial Advisors list published this past April 20, there were only five advisors on the list who had less than $1 billion in AUM. Of its top female advisors this weekend, two-thirds had below $1 billion in AUMs.
That said, you could make the argument that by sorting by sex the newspaper is able to spotlight FAs who otherwise might not receive the recognition they deserve. Looked at more sympathetically, it's just another way to showcase honest, hard-working FAs. That I can understand. In this Madoff world, financial advisory business needs some good press.