A $26.4 million difference in the average assets under management between male and female advisors polled in a recent study is almost entirely attributable to a very small percentage of males who manage vast sums, the study says.

   A study by Cogent Research, More Than Equal: The High Performing Female Advisor, found that the gender gap shrank to $7.2 million when the extremely small portion of top-producing male and female advisors-those managing more than $500 million in assets-was excluded.

   The average AUM for men who participated in the survey was $65.8 million vs. $39.4 million for women. When the top-producers were excluded, the average AUM was $45.3 million for men and $38.1 million for women. Of the 1,266 advisors who participated, less than 2% were top producers (1.33% male and 0.46 female).

   The study also found that female advisors with one to five years of experience and those with 16 years plus perform as well as their male counterparts, but women in the six- to 15-year experience range are managing significantly fewer assets than men in that category.

   Where females advisors work seems to influence the level of AUM they manage, the study noted. Female advisors who work for independent firms and RIA offices were more likely to fall in the bottom quartile, with 49% and 45% of women in these channels, respectively, ranking as low performers when measured by AUM, the study says. Female advisors who work for national firms and banks fared better, at 36% and 29%, respectively.

   The study also found that the ratio of female to male advisors was very low and varied across channels: national, 15%; banks, 23%; RIA firms, 16%; regional, 19% and independent, 17%.

   The researchers conducted an online survey of 1,266 financial advisors between September 21 and October 30 to identify and examine the relationship between gender and performance. Participants needed to have an active book of business of at least $1 million and offer investment or planning services to clients on a fee or transactional basis. The survey has a sampling error of 2.74 percentage points. The survey sample was obtained from Discovery Registered Representative and RIA databases.