December 2018 Newsletter

From the Desk of Marilyn Mohrman-Gillis, Executive Director

December 2018

Marilyn Mohrman-GillisSince our last update, the Center proudly hosted our first-ever Diversity Summit, convening leaders from financial services firms, academic institutions and non-profit organizations for a thought-provoking discussion about increasing racial and ethnic diversity in the financial planning profession. The Summit was a tremendous success, drawing more than 300 attendees who shared overwhelmingly positive feedback about their experience, with many committing to doing their part to create a more inclusive profession. We continue to share video of summit presentations and panels, as well as our seminal thought leadership paper, Racial Diversity in Financial Planning: Where We Are and Where We Must Go, to expand engagement and action around this important issue. We are grateful to Diversity Summit sponsors who helped make the event possible: Signature Sponsors Merrill Lynch, the Charles Schwab Foundation and Fiserv; Major Sponsors Prudential and Morgan Stanley; as well as the Center’s Lead Founding Sponsor TD Ameritrade Institutional and the Center’s Founding Sponsors Northwestern Mutual and Envestnet.

The Center also recently released Financial Planner Re-Entry Initiative: Career Path for Professional Women in Financial Planning, a white paper detailing the successes and lessons learned from the initial pilot of the first career re-entry initiative in financial planning. Financial Planner Re-Entry Initiative (FPRI) is an innovative workforce development program aimed at attracting experienced professional women who are seeking to return to the workforce after a career break. Twelve women had the opportunity to complete re-entry internships at leading financial firms through this program, and nearly all of them have since taken full-time positions with their sponsoring firm. We look forward to working with the second cohort of FPRI firms in the coming year and building upon the pilot’s success. Additionally, we invite financial planners, advisers and brokers to enroll in our newly announced Client Psychology course. Offered in 2019 in partnership with The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, this program will provide interdisciplinary instruction that helps professionals adapt to rapid changes in financial planning technology and build a more client-centric practice. You can read more about these and other Center activities below.

As we close out another successful and rewarding year, we would like to thank 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 continued interest in the Center and the future of the financial planning profession. I wish you and your families a joyous holiday season and a happy and healthy New Year.

Warm Regards,

Executive Director
CFP Board Center for Financial Planning


  • Center’s First Diversity Summit is a Resounding Success: More than 300 leaders from financial services firms, academic institutions and non-profit organizations, as well as current and aspiring CFP® professionals, attended the Center’s first Diversity Summit on October 23 at the Times Center in New York City. Less than 3.5 percent of the 80,000 CFP® professionals in the United States as of 2017 are black or Latino, which is significantly less than the percentage of blacks and Latinos across the U.S. population standing at 13.3 percent and 17.8 percent, respectively. The Summit provided a platform for a discussion of root causes for the lack of diversity and measures that can be undertaken by the Center and all stakeholders within financial planning and beyond, to address this challenge and create a more diverse and inclusive profession.

    The agenda included presentations by distinguished speakers, personal reflections from CFP® professionals of color, and facilitated breakout sessions that allowed attendees to work side-by-side on solutions to the profession’s lack of diversity. At the Summit, the Center released Racial Diversity in Financial Planning: Where We Are and Where We Must Go, a thought leadership paper that outlines research-based, actionable initiatives that can be implemented by firms, academic institutions, influencer organizations and CFP® professionals to address the underrepresentation of blacks and Latinos in financial planning.

    The feedback from attendees has been overwhelmingly positive, with many expressing their appreciation for the Center’s leadership on this important issue and the opportunity to work collectively. In a post-event survey, 100 percent of attendees indicated they would participate in a future Diversity Summit hosted by the Center.

    Presentations and panel discussions from the Diversity Summit were shared through a live webcast stream that is now available for on-demand viewing.

    The successful Diversity Summit and the release of the Center’s groundbreaking research and report have provided thought leadership opportunities for the Center to continue the important discussion on advancing diversity in financial planning.

    Center’s Executive Director Marilyn Mohrman-Gillis presented the research findings at several industry meetings and webinars, including a panel discussion and workshop sponsored by Charles Schwab at the Schwab IMPACT Conference on October 29, and a panel discussion at the MarketCounsel Summit on November 4. The Center applauds these firms for shining a light on this important issue.
  • Center Releases White Paper on the First Career Re-Entry Initiative in Financial Planning: The Center published Financial Planner Re-Entry Initiative: Career Path for Professional Women in Financial Planning, a report on the outcomes from the initial pilot of its Financial Planner Re-Entry Initiative (FPRI), an innovative workforce development program aimed at attracting professional women into the financial planning profession. Developed in partnership with nationally recognized career re-entry firm iRelaunch, FPRI supports financial services firms in creating re-entry internships for highly educated and experienced professionals (primarily women) seeking to return to the workforce after a career break, generally to raise their families.

    Firms that participated in the initial FPRI pilot included: Edelman Financial Engines and United Capital, both of which were sponsored by TD Ameritrade Institutional; Luma Wealth and Yeske Buie, sponsored by Schwab Advisor Services through the Schwab Foundation; and Fidelity Investments. These firms filled 12 re-entry internships during the pilot, of which 11 have since concluded. Ten interns became full-time employees, resulting in a strong 91 percent conversion rate. Lessons learned by pilot firms will be integrated into the second cohort of FPRI firms, which include: Ayco, A Goldman Sachs Company; Carson Wealth, sponsored by TD Ameritrade Institutional; The Colony Group; Moisand Fitzgerald Tamayo, LLC; Northwestern Mutual; Sullivan Bruyette Speros & Blayney; TD Ameritrade and Vanguard. This second cohort will run through November 2019. Firms interested in establishing a re-entry internship program leading to full-time positions in financial planning should contact Eddy Demirovic, Manager of Programs and Operations at the CFP Board Center for Financial Planning, at

  • Center Partners with The Wharton School to Offer Client Psychology Executive Education Program: The Center recently partnered with The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania to create a new Client Psychology course for financial advisers, planners, and brokers. Based on Client Psychology, the second publication in the Center’s financial planning book series, the program takes an interdisciplinary approach that combines behavioral finance, human sciences, and elements of psychology with financial planning to help professionals understand the biases, behaviors and perceptions that impact client decision making and financial well-being. With this enhanced understanding, professionals will be able to develop a more client-centric approach that will become even more important with recent advances in technology that provide clients with more options for managing their investments.

    Dr. Christopher Geczy, the academic director of the Wharton Wealth Management Initiative and the Jacobs Levy Equity Management Center for Quantitative Financial Research, and Dr. Charles R. Chaffin, director of the Center’s academic initiatives, will co-direct the course, which will be taught by top Wharton faculty, leading scholars in related academic disciplines, and CFP® professionals. To learn more and register for the program, click here.

  • Accepted Papers and Posters for 2019 Academic Research Colloquium Announced: The Center recently released the list of accepted papers and posters that will be presented at the third annual Academic Research Colloquium for Financial Planning and Related Disciplines on February 19-21, 2019 in Arlington, Virginia. Accepted papers cover a diverse selection of topics that directly or indirectly relate to financial planning practice. Additional information about the Colloquium, including registration and hotel information is available here. To learn about sponsorship and exhibiting opportunities, download the sponsorship prospectus and contact Beth Klein at    

  • New Financial Planning Review Now Available: Issues 1-2 of Financial Planning Review, Center’s new academic journal, are available via the Wiley Online Library. 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. Issues 3-4 will be available later in December.

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

    • “I Am a CFP® Pro” Campaign Visits Winthrop University: On November 13, “I am a CFP® Pro” campaign spokesman Justin Sullivan, CFP®, spoke to 130 students at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina, about why financial planning makes a great career and how to get started. Winthrop University offers a CFP Board Registered Program in financial planning for undergraduates, and the event was organized by program director Dr. Philip Gibson, CFP®. Dr. Gibson reported that several students decided to join the financial planning program as a result of Justin’s presentation.

    • Women’s Initiative (WIN) Activities: On November 1, the Center hosted a webinar for current WIN Advocates and those interested in joining the program. 555 CFP® professionals nationwide currently volunteer as WIN Advocates, promoting financial planning careers to women in their communities. The webinar featured WIN advocates sharing their experiences, as well as an overview of the latest Center resources available to Advocates, including videos, presentations and handouts.

      In addition, Kathleen McQuiggan, the Center’s Special Adviser on Gender Diversity, participated in a series of industry events in recent weeks to promote the financial planning career to women, including the November 2 Forte Foundation’s Fast Track to Finance Conference in Boston where she spoke about CFP® certification to 100 college women. 

    • Campaign Development Committee Volunteers Promote Center at Industry Events: Charlie Fitzgerald, III, CFP®, member of CFP Board’s Board of Directors and the Center’s Campaign Development Committee, was a session speaker at the eMoney Advisor Summit on October 9. Charlie provided an update on the Center’s initiatives and accomplishments at the summit, which drew over 1,000 attendees.

      On September 24-26, the Center’s Campaign Development Committee Member Cary Carbonaro, CFP®, participated in the Women’s Leadership Summit hosted by United Capital Financial Advisors, LLC, highlighted the Center’s efforts to attract more women to the financial planning profession during a panel presentation. The summit was designed to connect women at United Capital with female leaders within the financial services industry and provide mentoring and coaching to further develop the firm’s female talent. Attendees also received information about the Center in their take-home packets.

    • Center Participates in the Financial Planning Association Annual Conference: From October 3-5, the Center participated in the Financial Planning Association (FPA) Annual Conference in Chicago, IL. Conference attendees had an opportunity to meet with Center’s leadership at a breakfast event and the exhibit booth to learn about Center initiatives and how to get involved. The FPA conference draws more than 2,000 attendees from over 20 countries.

The Sponsor Spotlight is sponsored content, not content of the CFP Board Center for Financial Planning.  It is an opportunity for sponsors of the CFP Board Center for Financial Planning to communicate non-commercial educational information about their firm.

Jaquilyn Graff
Northwestern Mutual

As a Founding Sponsor of the CFP Board Center of Financial Planning, Northwestern Mutual has over 160 years of excellence in training and development and is currently working aggressively to diversify its population of successful financial representatives through its College Financial Representative Internship program.

Northwestern Mutual’s program provides a unique hand-in-glove experience; students prepare for the CFP® exam through their coursework while concurrently gaining real-world experience as licensed financial planners, practicing under the guidance of veteran advisors from their respective field offices.

This nationally ranked internship program1 hosts 3,600 students from across the nation. Among the thousands of talented young professionals participating in this program is Jaqilyn Graff – a Top 15 Northwestern Mutual Intern in 2018. Jaqilyn tells her story about how the internship program has helped inspire confidence in herself and her business as she works to earn the coveted CFP® certification.

Hailing from Victorville, California – a city located at the high-point between Los Angeles and Las Vegas – Jaqilyn is a Cal State—Fullerton Business grad. “In my sophomore year I was introduced to the internship program and attended meetings, connecting with CFP® professionals in that office. I was intrigued with financial planning and becoming a financial representative,” recalls Graff. “It was perfect, I was all in.”

Not having any prior business experience, Graff was looking to develop her personal confidence. As she recalls, “I was not the most self-assured person and quickly realized that I would feel more professional if I had the knowledge to back up what I was doing.” Fortunately, the internship program did just that – provided the mentoring, curriculum and experience needed to help her gain the knowledge to best serve her clients and build her business. “As a result, I was well equipped to approach and engage new clients.”

A deep interest in learning about retirement planning through her CFP® certification coursework, coupled with her own personal experiences, Graff quickly identified that her mission would be to help as many families as possible. “I know my own family would have benefited from being approached about retirement planning, and now I know that’s where I can add the most value from a planning perspective.”

As Graff’s experience grows, so too does her business, which now stretches from Orange Country to Los Angeles. Graff has graduated a semester early, successfully completed all the coursework required for CFP® certification, and will sit for the exam in March 2019.

1Year over year, Vault ranks Northwestern Mutual as one of the Top 10 internships in the financial services industry.

Northwestern Mutual is the marketing name for The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, Milwaukee, WI (NM) and its subsidiaries. Jaqilyn Renee Graff is an Insurance Agent of NM. CA License: #0L44409

  • Participate in the 2019 Academic Research Colloquium for Financial Planning and Related Disciplines: The Center invites practitioners, researches and students to participate in the third annual Colloquium on February 19-21, 2019, in Arlington, VA. For the first time, the 2019 Academic Research Colloquium will feature new sessions of interest for practicing CFP® professionals. These sessions, devoted to translating the implications of research into practical application, will be led by prominent scholar-practitioners – individuals who have extensive experience in both scholarly research and financial planning practice. CFP® professionals attending these sessions will be eligible to receive CFP Board CE credit provided by the Financial Planning Association. Registration and hotel information is available here.

  • Register for the Client Psychology Executive Education Program: Two three-day sessions of the Client Psychology course will be offered in 2019. The first session will be held April 1-3 at the University of Pennsylvania Campus in Philadelphia; the second session will take place from July 29-31 in San Francisco. Course materials and registration information are available here.

  • Enroll in a 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.

Participate in Center’s Programs

  • Get Involved in Tackling the Diversity Challenge in Financial Planning: The Diversity Summit was only the first step in our collective effort to affect change. 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: The Center invites CFP® professionals to volunteer as mentors in our 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. Previously open to female candidates, the newly expanded program now offers additional mentor-mentee matching options, including race and ethnicity. To learn more and sign up to become a mentor (or a mentee), click here. If you have questions about the CFP Board Mentor Program, please contact us at

  • Share the “I am a CFP® Pro” Campaign with Schools and Alumni Organizations: The Center encourages CFP® professionals share your story about becoming a CFP® pro with young people through the “I am a CFP® Pro” campaign. In support of this effort, the Center has developed a customizable presentation that highlights the benefits of the financial planning career, opportunities for young people, the CFP® certification process, and resources available to help young people along their academic and professional path. An accompanying handout is available as well. Please contact Eddy Demirovic at to express your interest in speaking to young people at local opportunities as they become available.

  • Promote Gender Diversity by Becoming a 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 – like those held in October – to share updates, experiences and other information. Learn more and sign up to become a WIN Advocate.

  • Financial Planning Review Accepting Papers: 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

  • Include the Center in Your Holiday Giving: We are in the heart of gift-giving season and hope you will consider making a contribution to the Center as part of your holiday giving. Your donation to the Center for Financial Planning supports important work to secure the financial future for all Americans by advancing a more diverse and sustainable financial planner workforce and building a research-based, recognized body of knowledge for the financial planning 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. Over the course of the past couple of years, the Center has awarded 16 of these life-changing scholarships, but there is a need for many more.  In 2017, we awarded 13 scholarships after receiving 157 applications – a less than 9% award rate. 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. Our goal is to raise $100,000 and provide as many of these much needed scholarships as possible in 2019. Click here to donate.

  • 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 are grateful to all of the donors who have helped us reach $204,000 of our $250,000 goal as of December 4. To make a difference in someone’s life by donating to the fund, please click here or contact Rochelle Zeidman, Managing Director of Development, CFP Board, at

  • Support the Eleanor Blayney Gender Diversity Challenge Fund: As part of her tireless efforts to encourage more women to join the financial planning profession, former Center Special Adviser on Gender Diversity Eleanor Blayney, CFP®, made a generous $100,000 gift to support the Center’s gender diversity initiatives and has challenged others to make a contribution.  We thank all the donors who already contributed $96,000 to the fund and invite you to help us reach the challenge. Learn more about the Challenge Fund

We are very pleased to report that the Center’s Capital Campaign has raised more than $11.3 million in gifts and pledges through November 30, 2018. 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. If your company is interested in sponsoring the Center, please contact Rochelle Zeidman at or 202-379-2255. One hundred percent of your contribution will go toward funding the Center’s programs.


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