The 100 Women Leading the U.S. Finance Industry into the Future
Hetty Green was born in 1834 to a family that made millions from whaling and shipping. She read the financial pages to her grandfather, took over accounting for the business when she was 13, and at 14 declared that she knew “as much about finance as any man.” By investing in government bonds, real estate, and railroads, she later turned her inheritance into a fortune that rivaled those of John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie. But it was her gender that made her career the subject of “endless comment, curiosity, and astonishment,” the New York Times wrote upon her death in 1916.
Much has changed for women working in finance in the century-plus since, although there is plenty of room for improvement. Women remain under-represented in the top echelons of U.S. finance, at an estimated 25%. But there’s good news, too: Their clout has never been greater, nor their contributions more in demand.
For proof of that, look no further than the stature and achievements of the women named to Barron’s inaugural list of the 100 Most Influential Women in U.S. Finance: chief financial officers at major U.S. companies, leading executives at some of the nation’s largest banks and brokerages, investment managers and securities analysts, financial advisors and wealth managers, and public servants and policy makers, all of whom have helped shape the modern financial-services industry and are leading it confidently into the future.
To create Barron’s 100 Most Influential Women list, we solicited nominations from Barron’s readers, finance-industry executives, and our in-house experts: the writers and editors at Barron’s who cover markets every day, and make it their business to know who’s calling the shots on Wall Street and elsewhere in the financial sector. Culling an initial list of hundreds of names was no easy task, given the creativity and accomplishments of the women nominated. The final list was assembled by a panel of Barron’s journalists.
“This isn’t just about women. It’s about diversity of thought, of background, of ethnicity, of gender.…We’re at a moment where people recognize the business imperative of diverse thinking.”
— Alison Mass, Goldman Sachs
The women on our list are all U.S.-based. (Please consult our sister publication, Financial News, for the latest list of the 100 Most Influential Women in European Finance.) Other criteria for inclusion were positions in money management, investment research, banking, financial regulation, trading, brokerage, family offices, advisory services, and financial policy and advocacy. We also considered, and included, notable CFOs of major non-financial companies, but not CEOs or other senior management.
The 100 women on the list were chosen based on their accomplishments and leadership within their organization, influence within their sector, and the capacity to shape their business or the industry in the future.
Barron’s decision to recognize and honor influential women in finance comes at a time when business institutions themselves have begun to realize that their long-term competitiveness, and the health of the capital markets, require remediating the industry’s gender gap. In the financial world, men have generally made more money than women and dominated management.
Increasing the number of women managers leads to diverse thinking and better decision-making, however. For example, research shows that putting women on boards of directors helps to moderate management overconfidence. Companies also want to ensure they’re attractive to younger employees, some 50% of whom are female.
Read the full story by Leslie P. Norton that includes the alphabetical list of The 100 Most Influential Women in U.S. Finance.