As consumer demand for financial advice grows, it is imperative that the financial planning profession work toward expanding and diversifying the ranks of financial planning professionals who can meet the needs of increasingly diverse consumers. However, based on self-reported data provided to CFP Board, less than 3.5 percent of all 80,000 CFP® professionals in the United States are black or Latino, which is significantly less than the representation of blacks and Latinos in the U.S. population.
To address this challenge and its root causes, the CFP Board Center for Financial Planning commissioned a comprehensive research study in 2017 to identify the barriers to racial and ethnic diversity in the financial planning profession.
Released on May 10, 2018, the qualitative and quantitative research examined the attitudes and perceptions of those with a stake in the racial and ethnic composition of the financial planning profession, including CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals, recruiting and hiring professionals at financial firms, consumers and prospective black and Latino financial planners.
This study was funded by generous contributions from the Charles Schwab Foundation and Capital One, as well as TD Ameritrade Institutional, the Center’s Lead Founding Sponsor, and Northwestern Mutual, the Center’s Founding Sponsor.
RESEARCH FINDINGS AND RELATED MATERIALS
Lack of diversity is widely acknowledged across the financial planning profession, despite the majority seeing no difference in required skill set between whites and blacks (78 percent) or whites and Latinos (69 percent).
When asked about the lack of diversity in the financial planning profession, survey respondents differ on their views of the profession:
- Among black and Latino prospective financial planners, 58 percent have never seriously thought of becoming a financial planner.
- However, existing black and Latino CFP® professionals are highly satisfied with the profession. In fact, while the majority of CFP® professionals are “very likely” to recommend financial planning to others as a career, black CFP® professionals are most likely to recommend financial planning at 68 percent with Latino CFP® professionals following closely at 59 percent.
2018 DIVERSITY SUMMIT
The research study is just the first step in the Center’s ongoing effort to build a more inclusive workforce. Following up on these findings, the Center’s Diversity Advisory Group will release a Thought Leadership Paper with recommended solutions, based on the research, for increasing diversity among financial planners at a Diversity Summit to be hosted by the CFP Board Center for Financial Planning in New York City on October 23, 2018.