Campaign to Increase Diversity
“I Am a CFP Pro” seeks to build awareness of the planning profession among millennials, women and people of color.
”I Am a CFP Pro” seeks to build awareness of the planning profession among millennials, women and people of color.
Taking aim at the ongoing lack of diversity in the field, the CFP Board has launched a series of initiatives intended to produce a younger and more representative workforce.
The new campaign builds on an earlier one that focused on recruiting more women into the profession.
“It’s really a launch to build awareness of the CFP certification among millennials, women and people of color,” says Nancy Kistner, chairwoman of the CFP Board’s Women’s Initiative Council. “This campaign was designed to spread the message that the future of financial planning depends on the participation of these communities in order to grow, thrive and remain responsive and relevant to the public that it serves.”
The “I Am a CFP Pro” campaign includes brief videos spotlighting the stories of young CFPS. It will have a website offering toolkits for firms and schools to support recruiting efforts for professional and educational programs. The videos aim to play up some nonfinancial aspects of the business, such as building relationships with clients and enjoying a career with a reasonable work-life balance.
Such messaging is needed to bring in new people, says CFP Board Chairman Blaine Aikin, who’s also executive chairman of the fiduciary training firm Fi360. Just 23% of active CFPS today are women. Among people of color, the figure is “significantly less than that,” he adds.
While there have been healthy gains in demand for financial advice in recent years, the industry’s aging workforce calls into question firms’ ability to sustain their service model, Aikin argues. Currently, there are more CFPS over the age of 70 than younger than 30.
“The financial planning workforce is both aging and it’s shrinking, so it’s becoming increasingly difficult to keep up with the demand,” he says. Minorities are expected to make up more than half of the U.S. population by 2043, he says, and “our profession is really not on track to meet this — the population that it must serve really to be relevant going forward.”
Of course, the CFP Board is inherently limited in its ability to increase diversity. For starters, it cannot compel firms to hire more women and minority planners. After launching its Women’s Initiative, the CFP Board acknowledged the limitations of the bully pulpit, stating that “simply making recommendations for increasing the number of women CFP professionals will not, in and of itself, get the job done.”
So the board has been looking to forge closer ties with industry partners. This spring, it announced that five firms would roll out internships courting women and minorities through a pilot program the CFP Board developed with the career reentry firm irelaunch.
Brittney Castro, who runs Financially Wise Women, a Los Angeles RIA, is a young CFP featured in the campaign videos. She sees the potential for the board to broaden its diversity message to college campuses. “It would be amazing to teach more individuals that this is a real profession,” Castro says.
As a business owner, she thinks the initiative can bring additional resources to advisors who may not have them otherwise. “I think that’s one of the biggest reasons [older advisors] are not doing it — because they don’t have the bandwidth to take on a junior partner or train somebody from the ground up,” she says.
The “I am a CFP Pro” campaign includes videos featuring CFPS Rianka Dorsainvil (left), Justin Sullivan and Brittney Castro.