April 2019 Newsletter

From the Desk of Marilyn Mohrman-Gillis, Executive Director

April 2019

Marilyn Mohrman-GillisWith the first quarter of 2019 behind us, the Center is already having an impactful year. Earlier this week, we released Financial Advisory Career Paths: Building More Sustainable and Successful Businesses, a comprehensive workforce development guide designed to help firms with financial planner recruitment, onboarding, training, career development and retention. We hope that firms will use this guide to build sustainable organizations and that professionals will use it as a roadmap for developing rewarding financial planning careers. The establishment of clear career paths will ultimately lead to more successful businesses and help to advance financial planning as a true profession that serves the public.

The guide is part of the Center’s Workforce Development focus area and we are grateful to our Workforce Development Advisory Group under the leadership of Mark Tibergien, CEO of Advisor Solutions for BNY Mellon’s Pershing, for their vision and expertise with the development of the guide, and to the thirty firms representing different business models that contributed to the publication. We are also thankful to our sponsors who made this project possible – the guide’s Signature Sponsor BNY Mellon’s Pershing, the Center’s Lead Founding Sponsor TD Ameritrade Institutional, and Founding Sponsors Northwestern Mutual, Envestnet and Charles Schwab Foundation, in partnership with Schwab Advisor Services. 

The Center also continued to make strides within our Diversity focus area. We are pleased to announce the second annual Diversity Summit to be held on November 13, 2019 at the JW Marriott in Washington, DC. With a focus on accountability, the Summit will build upon the success of last year’s inaugural event that drew over 300 thought leaders within and outside financial planning for a discussion of initiatives to advance racial diversity in the profession. We also expanded our “I am a CFP® Pro” campaign to attract young diverse talent into financial planning. The two-year-old campaign now features a new spokesperson and his compelling “day in the life” video, as well as a promotional toolkit specifically designed for CFP Board Registered Programs that allows schools to co-brand the campaign and use it to encourage student enrollment and retention.

As part of the Center’s Academic Home focus area, we held our third annual Academic Research Colloquium in February in Virginia, once again convening the best and brightest scholars and researchers from around the world to showcase cutting edge research within financial planning and related disciplines. This year’s Colloquium also attracted a greater number of practicing CFP® professionals who attended our new practitioner-focused sessions that helped to translate research findings into practical application. We were pleased at the response to this new content and look forward to expanding engagement opportunities for CFP® practitioners at our next Colloquium. We thank all of this year’s outstanding speakers and congratulate the winners of the Best Paper Awards who are featured below.

We remain grateful to all the corporate sponsors, individual donors and many volunteers whose dedication and contributions of time, talent and treasure make the Center’s critical work possible. We truly value your partnership and dedication.

Thank you for your ongoing interest in the Center and our work to create a more diverse and sustainable financial planning profession. I look forward to our continued engagement and collaboration.

Warm Regards,

Executive Director
CFP Board Center for Financial Planning


  • Center’s New Guide Highlights Best Practices for Firms to Recruit and Retain Talented Professionals: On April 16, the Center released Financial Advisory Career Paths: Building More Sustainable and Successful Businesses, a new guide designed to help firms across the profession structure and effectively communicate career path opportunities to professionals through best practices and guidance on recruitment, compensation and advancement decisions. The guide helps firms structure and effectively communicate career path opportunities by examining five rungs of the financial planner career ladder:

    • analyst,
    • associate advisor,
    • service advisor,
    • lead advisor and
    • partner.

    For each of the rungs, the guide elaborates on the requisite skills, experience and responsibilities necessary to achieve it. It also provides a framework for compensation and organizational advancement so that professionals can manage their expectations and be well rewarded for their efforts. Read more.

  • Center to Hold Second Annual Diversity Summit on November 13 in Washington, DC: The Center is pleased to announce the second annual Diversity Summit to be held on November 13, 2019 at the JW Marriott in Washington, DC. The event will build upon the success of last year’s inaugural Summit that drew over 300 thought leaders within and outside financial planning for a discussion of initiatives to advance racial diversity in the financial planning profession. Last year’s event also featured the release of Racial Diversity in Financial Planning: Where We are and Where We Must Go, the Center’s research-based thought leadership paper that outlines actionable solutions for industry stakeholders to create a more inclusive profession.

    This year’s Summit will build upon this momentum and will focus on accountability, highlighting what key stakeholder groups are doing to implement the Center’s recommendations and advance diversity in financial planning. We are expecting a similar level of interest and turnout this year, including executives from firms, leaders from CFP Board Registered Programs, experts in diversity and inclusion, and organizations focused on advancing people of color. If you are interested in participating in the upcoming Summit, or know individuals who fit this bill, please contact Eddy Demirovic at edemirovic@cfpboard.org.

  • “I am a CFP® Pro” Campaign Welcomes New Spokesperson: In February, the Center expanded its “I am a CFP® Pro” campaign to include Matt Aaron, CFP®, as a campaign spokesperson. Aaron is the founder of Aaron Financial, a financial planning practice with Northwestern Mutual in Washington, DC. A new “day-in-the-life” video featuring Aaron was unveiled on the campaign website. Aaron joins fellow campaign spokespeople Brittany Castro, CFP® of Los Angeles; Rianka Dorsainvil, CFP® of Washington, DC.; and Justin Sullivan, CFP® of Atlanta in encouraging young adults – particularly women and people of color – to pursue financial planning careers.

    The campaign also includes customizable toolkits that academic institutions and current CFP® professionals can use to promote financial planning careers to students and young people in their communities. The toolkits contain a variety of promotional materials and information on the Center’s career resources and opportunities available to young people, including scholarships, mentorships, internships and the online Career Center. Visit www.CFPPro.org to learn more.

  • Rigorous Research and Practitioner-Focused Content Featured at Third Annual Academic Research Colloquium: In February, the Center proudly hosted its third annual Academic Research Colloquium in Arlington, Virginia. Presented in cooperation with the Financial Planning Standards Council of Canada and the international Financial Planning Standards Board, the event gathered leading scholars and researchers to showcase the latest research within financial planning and related disciplines. A total of 34 research papers were presented, reflecting a highly selective 30 percent acceptance rate, and another 37 research posters were featured during the Colloquium’s poster session.

    This year’s Colloquium also included new sessions designed specifically for practicing CFP® professionals, which explored the implications of the featured research on financial planning practice. These sessions were led by prominent scholar-practitioners with extensive experience in both practice and scholarly research.

    The Center congratulates the winners of the Best Paper Awards presented at the event:

    • TD Ameritrade Best Paper Award in Behavioral Finance – Jonathan Huntley and Felix Reichling, both of Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, and Valentina Michelangeli of Bank of Italy, for “Chasing Returns in Retirement Accounts: Do Learning, Literacy, and Experience Matter?”
    • Northwestern Mutual Best Paper Award in Insurance/Risk Management – Steven Lee and Benjamin F. Cummings, both of The American College of Financial Services, and Jason Martin of Swarthmore College, for “Victim Characteristics of Investment Fraud”
    • Emerging Scholar Best Paper Award – Ioannis Branikas of Lundquist College of Business, University of Oregon, for “Advertising Exposure and Portfolio Choice: Estimates Based on Sports Sponsorships”
    • Best Paper Award in Investments – Lauren Cohen and Christopher Malloy, both of Harvard Business School, Harvard University, and Quoc Nguyen of DePaul University, for “Lazy Prices”
    • Best Paper Award in Household Finance – Vikas Agarwal, Hadiye Aslan, Lixin Huang, and Honglin Ren of J. Mack Robinson College of Business, Georgia State University, for “Policy Uncertainty and Household Stock Market Participation”

  • Center and Wharton School Host Client Psychology Course for Financial Planners: The Center and the Aresty Institute of Executive Education at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania hosted a successful first offering of the new Client Psychology course for financial planners on April 1-3 at the University of Pennsylvania Campus in Philadelphia. The first-of-its-kind course is designed to help financial planners develop a more effective client-centered practice by drawing heavily in advances in psychology, behavioral finance, evidence-based decision making, and the human sciences to better understand the biases, behaviors, and perceptions that impact client decision making and financial well-being. A second offering will take place July 29-31, 2019 in San Francisco. CFP® professionals attending this program will receive 21.5 hours of general CFP Board CE credit, offered by Wharton as CE provider. Learn more.

  • Second Issue of Financial Planning Review Now AvailableThe second issue of Financial Planning Review,the Center’s double-blind, peer-reviewed academic journal, is now available via the Wiley Online Library. Included in this edition is a paper co-authored by Harry Markowitz, recipient of the 1990 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. The Review features cutting-edge financial planning research from a variety of academic disciplines that is designed to benefit CFP® professionals, researchers and the public. Read the latest issue.

  • Financial Planner Re-Entry Initiative Now Accepting Applicants: The Center, in partnership with career re-entry firm iRelaunch, has begun its 2019 offering of the Financial Planner Re-Entry Initiative (FPRI) that connects firms in the financial planning sector with experienced professionals seeking to re-enter the workforce after a career break. We are currently seeking candidates for the following open positions:

    Additional positions will be posted on the FPRI webpage as they become available.

  • Center, CFP Board Welcome New Team Members to Drive Diversity: The Center is pleased to welcome Jocelyn Wright, CFP® as the new Special Adviser on Gender Diversity. In this role, Jocelyn will lead the Center’s Women’s Initiative (WIN) to attract women into the profession and support current female financial planners. With over 15 years of experience in financial planning, Jocelyn has long been an advocate for advancing diversity in the profession. She has served as the Director of the State Farm Center for Women and Financial Services at The American College from 2014 to 2018, and is currently a member of the Center’s Diversity Advisory Group. Jocelyn takes over this role from Kathleen McQuiggan, who recently concluded her official role with the Center in order to focus on her financial planning practice.

    In addition, Rhonda Cromwell, CFP®, CPA, recently joined CFP Board as Manager, Corporate Diversity Engagement Programs. Working with CFP Board’s Corporate Relations team, Rhonda will engage with firms to support and grow a more diverse CFP® professional workforce, leveraging both CFP Board and Center research and resources. Rhonda has worked as a financial advisor and independent advisor with Ameriprise, where she built a financial practice from the ground up and progressed to franchise owner within three years. Most recently, Rhonda was a business consultant and executive coach.

  • Center Participates in Industry Events: Center volunteers and staff participated in recent industry events to promote the Center’s work.

    • InvestmentNews 2018 Women to Watch Awards Luncheon: Chair of the Center’s Campaign Development Committee, Karen Schaeffer, CFP®, was honored with the Alexandra Armstrong Award for Lifetime Achievement in Financial Planning at the 4th Annual InvestmentNews Women to Watch Luncheon on March 14 in New York City. A true luminary in the profession, Karen received the prestigious award for her distinguished career and contribution to the growth and advancement of financial planning. Among other CFP® professionals who were recognized are key Center volunteers – Women’s Initiative Council member Sabrina Lowell, CFP® and “I am a CFP® Pro” campaign spokeswoman Brittney Castro, CFP®.

    • Financial Planning Association of Minnesota Meeting: Center Executive Director Marilyn Mohrman-Gillis was a featured speaker at the Financial Planning Association of Minnesota’s chapter meeting on March 19 in Minneapolis. Mohrman-Gillis shared highlights from the Center’s seminal diversity thought leadership paper, Diversity in Financial Planning: Where We Are and Where We Must Go, and discussed actionable initiatives that can be implemented by firms, practitioners and other stakeholders to create a more diverse financial planning workforce.

    • 2019 FINRA Diversity Summit: Mohrman-Gillis also presented about the Center’s research and recommended initiatives to advance racial diversity in the profession on a panel at the 2019 FINRA Diversity Summit held on April 2 in New York City. The annual event drew nearly 150 participants from non-profits, broker-dealer firms and regulators, for a discussion around FinTech and the impact on diversity and inclusion, innovative approaches for building inclusive talent pipelines, and the financial capability of U.S. adults.


  • Enroll in the Financial Planning Teaching Seminar: The Center is pleased to partner with the Columbia University School of Professional Studies to offer two sessions of our Financial Planning Teaching Seminar in 2019. The sessions will be held May 5-7 and August 18-20 on Columbia’s Morningside Campus in New York City. The experience-based program is designed for faculty who currently teach finance or accounting, CFP® professionals who are interested in becoming full-time or part-time faculty in a CFP Board Registered Program, current CFP Board Registered Program faculty, and doctoral students. The curriculum covers financial planning content as well as basic instructional design, including how to set learning objectives, assess students, and incorporate experiential learning into a classroom or virtual teaching environment. Registration for both sessions is open here.

  • Register for the Second Offering of Client Psychology Course for Financial Planners: Following the successful April offering, the second session will take place from July 29-31 in San Francisco. Course materials and registration information are available here

  • Diversity Summit (November 13 in Washington, DC): This year’s Summit will focus on accountability, highlighting what key stakeholder groups are doing to implement the Center’s recommendations to advance diversity in financial planning. We are seeking participation from financial firm executives with responsibilities related to diversity and inclusion, leaders of CFP Board Registered Programs, “influencer” organizations that can reach diverse populations, and practitioners interested in advancing diversity in the profession. If you have questions about the Summit or would like to recommend individuals or organizations the Center should invite to attend, please contact Eddy Demirovic at edemirovic@cfpboard.org.

Participate in Center’s Programs

  • Get Involved in Tackling the Diversity Challenge in Financial Planning: We invite you to download Racial Diversity in Financial Planning: Where We Are and Where We Must Go, to learn how you can get involved, and to forward the paper to your colleagues and networks to expand engagement around this important issue. The paper outlines research-based, actionable initiatives that can be implemented by firms, colleges and universities with a financial planning program, partner organizations and CFP® professionals.  

  • Become a Mentor to an Aspiring CFP® Professional: The Center invites CFP® professionals to volunteer as mentors in the CFP Board Mentor Program. The program is designed to match CFP® certification candidates with CFP® professionals who can provide guidance and support as they complete the certification process and begin their financial planning career. For questions, please contact us at mentor@CFPBoard.org.

  • Share the “I am a CFP® Pro” Campaign: The Center encourages CFP® professionals to promote the financial planning career to young people through the “I am a CFP® Pro” campaign. In support of this effort, the Center has developed a social media toolkit for CFP® professionals and a customizable presentation that can be delivered at local schools or alumni associations. For questions, please contact us at mail@centerforfinancialplanning.org.

  • Promote Gender Diversity by Becoming a Women’s Initiative (WIN) Advocate: The Center is seeking CFP® professionals to become WIN Advocates and help raise awareness in their communities of financial planning as a rewarding career opportunity for women. Advocates receive a toolkit of resources from the Center, including presentations and handouts, and are invited to participate in periodic webinars to share updates, experiences and other information. Learn more and sign up to become a WIN Advocate.

  • Submit a Paper to Financial Planning Review: The Center’s peer-reviewed academic journal Financial Planning Review continues to accept research papers on topics related to portfolio choice; behavioral finance; household finance; psychology and human decision-making; consumer finance and regulation; human sciences; and financial therapy, literacy and wellness. Additional details are available here.

  • Participate in Future Research: CFP® professionals are encouraged to volunteer to be part of the Center’s research list for the opportunity to participate in innovative research projects that may help their practice and the entire profession. Participating CFP® professionals will receive a copy of the final research paper for any study in which they elect to participate. More information can be found here.

Support the Center

  • Make a Gift to the Center: We hope this newsletter inspires you to make a contribution to support the important work of the Center for Financial Planning. Your donation helps to create a more diverse and sustainable financial planner workforce and a research-based, recognized body of knowledge for the profession. Support the Center.

  • Support The Deena Jo Heide-Diesslin Foundation Challenge Match Scholarship: You will have significant impact by supporting The Deena Jo Heide-Diesslin Foundation Challenge Match Scholarship that helps qualified individuals from underrepresented populations complete the educational requirements for CFP® certification. The scholarship was established by former CFP Board Chair David Diesslin, CFP®, in memory of his wife, Deena. To date, the Center has awarded 16 of these life-changing scholarships, but with over 300 applicants, there is a need for many more. With your help, we can increase our award rate so that all of our most worthy applicants can receive a scholarship. In addition, your gift will be doubled through a dollar-for-dollar match. Click here to donate or contact Diane LaVigna, Director of Development, Center for Financial Planning, at dlavigna@cfpboard.org or 202-379-2255. 

  • Support the Richard B. Wagner Memorial Scholarship Fund: Support aspiring CFP® professionals through the Richard B. Wagner Memorial Scholarship Fund, established jointly by the Center and FPA. We thank all of the donors who have helped us reach $203,000 of our $250,000 goal. To make a difference in someone’s life by donating to the fund, please click here or contact Diane LaVigna, Director of Development, Center for Financial Planning, at dlavigna@cfpboard.org or 202-379-2255.

We are very pleased to report that the Center has raised more than $12 million in gifts and pledges through March 2019. Thank you to our generous corporate sponsors and individual donors. A listing is available here. Their gifts provide important support for the Center’s ongoing efforts to grow, diversify and sustain the financial planning profession.

To make a tax-deductible donation to the Center, please click here or contact us at 800-487-1497. One hundred percent of your contribution will go toward funding the Center’s programs. If your company is interested in sponsoring the Center, please contact Diane LaVigna, Director of Development, Center for Financial Planning, at dlavigna@cfpboard.org or 202-379-2255


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