December 2019 Newsletter

From the Desk of D.A. Abrams, Managing Director

December 2019

D.A. Abrams

I am pleased to welcome you to the first edition of the CFP Board Center for Financial Planning newsletter as the Center’s new Managing Director. I have been a part of the Center team for little more than a month, but I have already been privileged to see our team host a highly successful second Diversity Summit, publish a new report on the business benefits of workforce diversity in financial services, and release an impressive lineup of research papers and posters to be featured at the 2020 Academic Research Colloquium. The Center also marked major milestones in our scholarship programs – to date, our five programs have awarded 52 scholarships totaling nearly $230,000. Six of our scholars have gone on to become CFP® professionals and another seven are in the final stages of certification. You can read more about these accomplishments and other Center programs below.

It is an honor to lead a team whose work is critical in meeting the needs of this growing profession. From cultivating the next generation of financial planners, to advancing diversity and inclusion in our workforce, to helping to build an academic foundation for financial planning, the Center is central to the profession’s sustainability and growth. I look forward to working with our staff, volunteers and stakeholders in building on the good work that has already been done.

I also want to acknowledge Marilyn Mohrman-Gillis, the Center’s outgoing Executive Director. Marilyn has been a true champion of the Center and a tireless advocate for its critical work from day one. Under her leadership, the Center has made meaningful progress toward its mission of creating a more diverse and sustainable financial planning profession so that every American has access to competent and ethical financial planning advice. I am thankful for Marilyn’s extraordinary service to the profession and wish her a wonderful retirement.

The holiday season is always a time for reflection and gratitude. As another successful year draws to a close, we look back on our accomplishments with tremendous appreciation for the many corporate sponsors, individual donors and volunteers whose dedication and contributions of time, talent and treasure make our work possible. We thank you for your continued partnership and commitment to the work of the Center.

I look forward to sharing more updates with you as the Center’s work progresses. I wish you and your families the happiest of holidays and a prosperous New Year.

With thanks,

D.A. Abrams, CAE
Managing Director
CFP Board Center for Financial Planning


  • Introducing Our New Managing Director: On November 4, the Center welcomed seasoned nonprofit leader D.A. Abrams as its new Managing Director. Abrams is a Certified Association Executive (CAE) with more than 26 years of experience in both private and nonprofit organizations. The majority of Abrams’s career was spent at the United States Tennis Association (USTA), most recently as the organization’s Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer. In this role, Abrams created workplace, workforce, community and marketplace strategies vital to the growth of tennis across the country. Under his leadership, USTA increased the diversity of its staff, volunteers, interns, suppliers, officials, players, tournament organizers and audiences. Abrams also serves as the Diversity & Inclusion Sports Consortium President, the National Association of Asian American Professionals Board Treasurer, and is an Advisory Board Member of Diversity MBA. Read more.
  • Center’s Successful Diversity Summit Drives Accountability: The Center proudly hosted its second successful Diversity Summit on November 13 in Washington, D.C., to continue advancing diversity and inclusion in the financial planning profession. The Summit’s 380 attendees—higher attendance than the 2018 Summit—displayed strong enthusiasm for a thought-provoking program featuring a robust lineup of dynamic speakers. This year’s agenda focused on Accountability and highlighted the leadership of firms, academic institutions and partner organizations to create a more diverse profession – through actionable case studies and best practices. The Center also released a new research report (below) that outlines the business case for fostering greater diversity.


    The Center is grateful to Merrill Lynch and JP Morgan Chase for serving as Signature Sponsors of the Diversity Summit, and Fiserv and Prudential as Major Sponsors. The Summit was also made possible with support from the Center’s Lead Founding Sponsor TD Ameritrade Institutional and Founding Sponsors Northwestern Mutual and the Charles Schwab Foundation, in partnership with Schwab Advisor Services. Learn more.

  • New Report Highlights Business Benefits of Diversity in Financial Services: At the recent Diversity Summit, the Center released Why Diversity Matters: How Workforce Diversity and Inclusion Accelerate Business Success in Financial Services, a literature review that outlines why a diverse workforce is critical for both the financial planning profession and financial services firms.

    Through data compiled from a variety of research studies, the report shows that diversity leads to stronger sales revenue, customer growth, greater market share and higher profit levels. The report also identifies four data-supported explanations for how diversity coupled with inclusion leads to stronger overall financial performance:

    • Diverse organizations better serve diverse customers;
    • Diverse organizations can recruit better talent as they are more attractive to potential employees;
    • Diverse organizations are better at retaining talent given that employees in diverse companies are more satisfied and employee turnover is lower; and
    • Diverse organizations are more creative and innovative because of the diverse environment.

  • Center Announces Accepted Papers, Posters for Academic Research Colloquium: The Center’s fourth annual Academic Research Colloquium for Financial Planning and Related Disciplines, to be held February 20-22, 2020, in Arlington, VA, is convening leading scholars and researchers to showcase the latest research within financial planning and related disciplines. The lists of accepted research papers and posters that will be presented at the 2020 Colloquium are now available online.

    The Colloquium will also feature several sessions designed specifically for practicing CFP® professionals, and which are eligible for CE credit. These sessions will explore the implications of research on financial planning practice and will be led by an illustrious team of Scholar-Practitioners who have extensive financial planning practice experience and can apply that to relevant, impactful research. CE credits for these select sessions will be administered by the Financial Planning Association. Click here to register for the Colloquium and reserve a discounted hotel room today.

  • Upcoming Webinar to Outline Client Psychology Program Offerings in 2020: On Monday, December 16 at 1:00 pm EST, join Dr. Charles Chaffin, Center’s Director of Academic Initiatives, and Dr. Chris Geczy, Professor of Finance at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, as they discuss the 2020 offerings of the Client Psychology program. Co-offered by the Center and Wharton Executive Education, the program is focused on financial planning advisors and the ways they can be more client-centered, specifically exploring the biases, behaviors, and perceptions that impact client decision-making and financial well-being. Click here to register for the webinar. 

  • Financial Planner Re-Entry Initiative (FPRI) Now Accepting Applicants: The Center, in partnership with career re-entry firm iRelaunch, is promoting career opportunities offered by FPRI pilot firms for experienced professionals seeking to re-enter the workforce after a career break. FPRI pilot firms are currently seeking candidates for the following open positions:

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


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.

As a Founding Sponsor of the CFP Board Center of Financial Planning, Northwestern Mutual has more than 160 years of excellence in financial services.

Wealth Management Advisor Kasey Gartner is a University of Georgia – Terry College of Business graduate, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in finance and marketing. After returning to Atlanta following graduation, Kasey began her career with Northwestern Mutual as an associate and started gaining real-world experience, practicing under the guidance of one of the company’s top investment advisors.

After nine years as an associate, Kasey earned her CFP® certification and started her own advisory practice. From business continuation planning and investment strategies, to education funding and special needs planning, Kasey’s expertise spans various areas customized to each client’s diverse financial goals.

She enjoys the freedom and flexibility of her career and encourages young advisors from a variety of different backgrounds to explore the profession.

“There isn’t a one-size-fits-all formula for success in this profession,” Kasey recalled. “I entered the industry as a college graduate thinking I’d need to conform to certain ways of working, but I came to realize I can be my authentic self and be successful. People shouldn’t be afraid to do what it takes to make the career work for them. They’ll find success along the way.”

As a busy professional, Kasey understands people often don’t take the time they should to properly plan for their financial futures. She balances her work as an advisor with being a single mom to a seven-year-old son, all while pursuing her passion for fitness. Although she acknowledges peoples’ schedules can get hectic, Kasey sees herself as an educator and strives to communicate the value of creating a solid financial plan.

“My ultimate goal is to help clients and prospects have a better understanding of their overall financial picture. I want to ensure the people I meet with feel important, appreciated and valued. If I do it right, I’m improving their lives. When they achieve the financial goals they set for themselves, their families and their businesses, it is truly rewarding.”

As a leading producer for Northwestern Mutual, Kasey has earned several awards and recognitions throughout her career, including NAIFA Atlanta – Top Advisor Under 40, NAIFA Atlanta – Top Female Advisor and is a Million Dollar Round Table Qualifying Member.

To learn more about Northwestern Mutual and its field professionals, please visit  

At Schwab, we’re committed to supporting the growth of the Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) industry and to helping firms attract and retain top talent. Our Schwab RIA Intern Program prepares college students for careers at RIA firms by letting them explore the different facets of the independent advisory business firsthand. Out of hundreds of applicants, top candidates from universities across the country are selected to participate. The goal: to build a bridge that connects the advisors of today with the talent of tomorrow.

Recruiting Gen Z and Millennial talent requires an understanding of their views on issues like culture, technology and diversity. Several of our 2019 RIA interns jumped at the opportunity to provide insight and help inform the industry’s approach to talent-acquisition strategies. Here’s what they had to say.

Interns speak up: Six tips for recruiting advisors of the future

Students from our Schwab RIA Intern Program Class of 2019 — We thank the interns who contributed to this article (left to right): Rachel Frame, Carnegie Mellon University; Tara O’Connell, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University; Shivani Modi, University of Delaware; Amanda Webb, University of Florida, Amorette Hernandez, University of Notre Dame; Daniel Vosskuhler, Northern Arizona University; Christopher Adamo, Lafayette College; and Grant Gillem, Southern Methodist University.

  1. Offer internships. We know recruiting can be a big undertaking. Advisory firms may lack the resources to staff a dedicated recruiter to canvass college campuses nationwide. A scalable alternative is to offer internships. The great thing about internships is that they’re short-term, low-risk opportunities for both advisors and potential recruits. Advisors get to test new talent, while interns gain valuable, hands-on experience and a deeper understanding of the RIA industry.

  2. Help us see a path forward. There’s so much ambiguity when starting a career. Help us hit the ground running with clearly defined career paths. Set expectations for our roles, provide opportunities to expand our skills, and have conversations about the firm’s goals—and ours. Show us how we fit into your firm now and down the line. Clarity brings out the best in new talent and inspires commitment from employees.

  3. Embrace technology. We grew up with technology. For us, user-friendly tech is less of a game changer and more of a must-have. We know technology can improve client experiences, grow firms and save time. That’s why we want to work for a firm that openly embraces new technology. When a firm invests in tech, it sends a message that the firm is invested in its success, its employees and the future.  

  4. Put your brand out there. We are interested in working for a firm whose mission and values align with our own. That’s why it’s important to communicate who your firm is and what it stands for. Promoting your brand purpose and culture can help you connect with the right candidates—and clients. Express your unique brand identity on your website, on social channels, in the office, and out in the world.  

  5. Take pride in diversity. Gen Z is the most diverse generation yet. We’re drawn to organizations that value all genders, sexual orientations, races and ethnicities. Create a welcoming and inclusive work environment. When you build a culture that embraces diversity, you’re signaling that you value a wide range of thought, experiences, and beliefs.   

  6. Tap our networks and create an employee-referral culture. Great talent keeps good company. Whether it’s a promising intern or a recent hire, don’t overlook their network when searching for new talent. Consider offering referral incentives. These are great ways to motivate your current employees to reach out to their friends and acquaintances. You may just find the perfect fit for your firm.

Thanks for the opportunity to share our ideas. We look forward to joining the RIA industry and building a stronger future together.

If your firm is looking to connect with rising talent or simply looking to learn more, check out the Schwab RIA Intern Program.

©2019 Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. Member SIPC. All rights reserved. Schwab Advisor Services™ serves independent investment advisors and includes the custody, trading and support services of Schwab. Independent investment advisors are not owned by, affiliated with, or supervised by Schwab. 1119-9PHB



  • Career Path Guide: We encourage firm leaders and CFP® professionals to read Financial Planning Career Paths: Building More Sustainable and Successful Businesses and share it within your networks. The guide is designed to help employers attract and develop talented professionals while giving financial planners a roadmap for navigating their own financial planning careers. Establishing and communicating clear career paths is crucial to helping today’s professionals achieve their full potential and to attracting the next generation of talent our profession needs. Download the guide here.

  • Report on Racial Diversity 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 in this important issue. The paper outlines research-based, actionable initiatives to advance racial diversity in the profession that can be implemented by firms, colleges and universities with a financial planning program, partner organizations and CFP® professionals.  

  • “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 customizable presentation, including social media and other communications tools, that can be delivered at local schools or alumni associations. For questions, please contact us at


  • 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

  • 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.


  • Make a One-Time Gift or a Multi-Year Pledge to Support Our Programs: We hope this newsletter inspires you to support the important work of the Center for Financial Planning to advance the profession. One hundred percent of your donation helps to create a more diverse and sustainable financial planner workforce and a research-based, recognized body of knowledge for financial planning. You can make a one-time gift by donating online, or through your donor advised fund, stock transfer or IRA. If you are interested in making a multi-year pledge or planned gift, contact Beth Miller, Individual Giving Officer, at or 202-864-5202. Support the Center.

  • Donate to a Specific Program

    • Financial Planning Knowledge Center Website: Be among the first to help build an online space for practitioners that translates research and ideas into practical insights. The Financial Planning Knowledge Center is being designed to share the latest in financial planning research, best practices and other emerging trends within financial planning practice. The website will feature content from the Financial Planning Review, additional papers, videos and interactive capabilities that present innovative research on financial planning and related disciplines, as well as opportunities to engage with practitioners and researchers across the profession. Make a one-time gift today (select “Financial Planning Knowledge Center” in dropdown menu) and learn about the benefits of making a multi-year pledge.

    • 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 26 of these life-changing scholarships, but there is a need for many more. With your help, we can increase our award rate so that all 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.

    • 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 $247,719 of our $250,000 goal. To make  difference in someone’s life by donating to the fund, please click here.

  • For Firms: If your company is interested in learning more about sponsorship opportunities with the Center, please contact Joseph V. Maugeri, CFP®, Managing Director, Corporate Relations, at or 202-379-2254.

We are pleased to report that the Center has raised more than $1.2 million in gifts and pledges so far in 2019. Thank you to our generous corporate sponsors and individual donors. A listing is available here. These 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 the Development Team at 202-379-2237. One hundred percent of your contribution will go directly towards funding the Center’s programs.


TD Ameritrade Institutional and the CFP Board are separate and unaffiliated and are not responsible for each other’s services or policies. TD Ameritrade Institutional is a division of TD Ameritrade, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. TD Ameritrade is a trademark owned by TD Ameritrade IP Company, Inc. and The Toronto-Dominion Bank. © 2019 TD Ameritrade IP Company, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission. The third parties referenced herein are independent companies and are not affiliated with Fidelity Investments. Listing them does not suggest a recommendation or endorsement by Fidelity Investments. The registered trademarks and service marks appearing herein are the property of FMR LLC. Fidelity Clearing & Custody Solutions provides clearing, custody, or other brokerage services through National Financial Services LLC or Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC, Members NYSE, SIPC. © 2019 FMR LLC. All rights reserved. 784358.1.0

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