Cam­paign to In­crease Di­ver­sity

“I Am a CFP Pro” seeks to build aware­ness of the plan­ning pro­fes­sion among mil­len­ni­als, women and peo­ple of color.

Financial Planning - - CONTENT - By Ken­neth Corbin

”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.

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