Forbes’ rankings, developed by SHOOK Research, are the only advisor rankings with a focus on quality, including interviewing advisors in-person, virtually and by telephone.
Unlike other advisor rankings, SHOOK is not a “robo-ranker.” Numbers such as production and assets don’t tell the whole story, especially when much of the data is self-reported. SHOOK Research creates rankings of role models—advisors that are leading the way in offering best practices and providing a high-quality experience for clients. A focus on both qualitative and quantitative factors are imperative.
How We Rank
The Forbes ranking of America’s Top Women Wealth Advisors, developed by SHOOK Research, is based on an algorithm of: qualitative data, learned through surveys and interviews (in-person, telephone and virtual), so we can evaluate best practices, service and investing models, compliance records, etc.; as well as quantitative data, like revenue trends and assets under management. All advisors have a minimum of seven years’ experience. Portfolio performance is not a criteria due to varying client objectives and lack of audited data. Neither Forbes nor SHOOK receive a fee in exchange for rankings.
(Advisors can complete a survey for upcoming rankings here)
Research Summary For All SHOOK Advisors (as of February 2021)
We don’t want 300,000 nominations so we set high thresholds to minimize the quantity we receive:
- 32,810 nominations received, based on thresholds (9,785 women)
- 16,165 invited to complete online survey
- 13,235 telephone interviews.
- 2,595 in-person interviews at advisors’ location
- 692 web-based interviews
The SHOOK Process
SHOOK scours the financial services industry—banks, brokerages, custodians, insurance companies, clearing houses and others for nominations. SHOOK accepts advisors who meet pre-determined minimum thresholds and acceptable compliance records.
Basic Requirements For Top Women Wealth Advisors
- 7 years as an advisor
- Minimum 1 year at current firm, with exceptions (acquisitions, etc.)
- Advisor must be recommended, and nominated, by their firm
- Completion of an online survey
- Over 50% of revenue/production must be with individuals
- Acceptable compliance record
- Revenue/production; weightings assigned for each
- Assets under management—and quality of those assets—both custodied and a scrutinized look at assets held away. (Although individual numbers are used for ranking purposes, we publish the entire team’s assets)
- Client-related data, such as retention
- Portfolio performance is not a factor; audited returns among advisors are rare, and differing client objectives provide varying returns
- Telephone, virtual and in-person meetings with advisors (if an in-person meeting cannot be accomplished, exceptions are considered in which the interview will occur after a ranking has been published).
- Compliance records and U4s. Some “dings” can be overlooked (e.g., firm or product failure beyond the scope of an advisor’s due diligence; the older a ding, the less we look). Since there are many gray areas, the SHOOK team is willing to listen to a firm that is willing to stand behind the advisor with written support from leadership.
- Advisors that provide a full client experience: Service model; investing process; fee structure (higher % of fee-based assets earns more points); Breadth of services, including extensive use of firm’s platform and resources (e.g., liabilities)
- Credentials (years of service can serve as proxy)
- Use of team and team dynamics
- Community involvement
- Discussions with management, peers, competing peers
- Telephone, virtual and in-person meetings
The following conditions will be considered in order to lessen weightings infractions:
- Infractions that are denied or closed with no action
- Complaint arose from a product, service or advice initiated by a previous advisor or another member or former member of team
- Length of time since complaint
- Complaints related to product failure not related to investment advice (some limited partnerships, adjusted-rate securities, etc.)
- Complaints that have been settled (must be proven) to appease a client who remained with the advisor for at least one year following settlement date
- Complaints that are proven to be meritless
- Actions taken as a result of administrative error or failure by firm
Once an advisor’s compliance rating falls into a tenable category, the following conditions must be met:
- An advisor’s rating must be among SHOOK’s highest qualitative measures including in-person interview
- Letters of recommendation from firm
The algorithm is designed to fairly compare the business practices of a large group of advisors based on quantitative and qualitative elements. Data are weighted to ensure priorities are given to dynamics such as preferred “best practices,” business models, recent business activity, etc. Each variable is graded and represents a certain value for each measured component. These data are fed into an algorithm that measures thousands of advisors against each other.
SHOOK is completely independent and objective and does not receive compensation from the advisors, firms, the media, or any other source in exchange for placement on a ranking. SHOOK is funded through conferences, publications and research partners. Since every investor has unique needs, investors must carefully choose the right advisor for their own situation and perform their own due diligence. Rankings are based on the opinions of SHOOK Research, LLC and not indicative of future performance or representative of any one client’s experience; the firm’s research and rankings provide opinions for how to choose the right financial advisor. Portfolio performance is not a criterion due to varying client objectives and lack of audited data. Remember, past performance is not an indication of future results.