About Face

Do these new pro­grams hold the key to ed­u­cat­ing the plan­ners of the fu­ture?

Financial Planning - - Editor’s View -

Like many great sto­ries, the idea for our main fea­ture story, “Talk Is Cheap,” sprang from an off­hand com­ment.

Be­tween takes of a pod­cast record­ing, Kate Healy, manag­ing direc­tor of TD Amer­i­trade In­sti­tu­tional’s Gen­er­a­tion Next, told as­sis­tant manag­ing ed­i­tor Maddy Perkins about some in­trigu­ing pro­grams she’d seen emerg­ing at his­tor­i­cally black col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties. The pro­grams are de­signed to make the fi­nan­cial plan­ning pro­fes­sion more ac­ces­si­ble to stu­dents who’d never con­sid­ered the ca­reer be­fore.

“It didn’t take a whole lot of dig­ging for it to be clear that this an­gle was some­thing that hadn’t been cov­ered be­fore — and needed to be,” Perkins tells me. “These pro­grams are cre­at­ing places for stu­dents of color to learn this ca­reer and thrive at it.”

Even as the de­mo­graph­ics of the U.S. are chang­ing, the pop­u­la­tion of fi­nan­cial ad­vi­sors is not. More than half of Amer­i­can chil­dren will be part of a “mi­nor­ity race or eth­nic group” in 2020, ac­cord­ing to the U.S. Cen­sus Bu­reau, yet less than 3.5% of all CFPS are black or Latino, Perkins re­ports.

“I’ve seen the num­bers re­gard­ing the in­dus­try’s in­clu­sion is­sue, just as every­one else has. I didn’t re­al­ize how bad a job the ad­vi­sory in­dus­try is still do­ing at reach­ing out to these stu­dents,” Perkins says. “Hear­ing from the stu­dents and their pro­fes­sors about why it isn’t work­ing re­ally showed how much more needs to be done.”

Un­for­tu­nately, many firms are stuck in the mind­set of fill­ing quo­tas when it comes to work­place di­ver­sity, rather than valu­ing how an ar­ray of voices and ex­pe­ri­ences can help them at­tract and re­tain clients. “En­gag­ing with these pro­grams is an ex­cel­lent start,” Perkins tells me.

Two HBCUS men­tioned in “Talk Is Cheap” ap­pear in our up­dated and ex­panded list of schools for fi­nan­cial plan­ning that of­fer ad­vi­sory de­gree pro­grams. It’s a must-have for firms and stu­dents alike. —Chelsea Emery

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