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CFP Board and Schwab Unveil Diversity Scholarship Program

At least half of the recipients will be from populations underrepresented in the profession.

The CFP Board is teaming up with Charles Schwab for a new scholarship program to boost diversity in the profession. 

The Charles Schwab Foundation CFP Certification Scholarship will award as many as 16 awards per year (and up to $10,000 per award) for students working toward completing an undergraduate CFP Board registered program, or $5,000 for a student trying to complete a certificate-level CFP Board program. 

According to the CFP Board, at least half of the recipients will be from an underrepresented population in the profession, in terms of either “gender, race, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation or veteran status, and/or must have a demonstrated financial need.” The partnership between the board and Schwab was already helping to “open the doors to future talent,” according to CFP Board CEO Kevin Keller.

“By deepening our collaboration with Schwab Advisor Services and the Charles Schwab Foundation, we aim to reach more underrepresented groups and educate students about career opportunities in financial planning,” Keller said.

The new scholarship program comes on the heels of a June announcement of a four-year grant from Schwab Advisor Services and the Schwab Foundation to the CFP Board to help further diversity in the profession, following donations that helped fund the Board’s Center for Financial Planning 2015 launch. 

In addition to the scholarship funding, the grant money will support the Board’s annual Diversity Summit, which is slated to be held this October in Washington, D.C. 

Earlier this week, the CFP Board announced a separate scholarship partnership with Wealthspire Advisors, which also is targeted toward students from underrepresented groups entering the industry. The Wealthspire scholarship would fund as many as four $5,000 awards per year for students working on completing coursework at undergraduate or certificate-level CFP Board Registered Programs. The deadline for applying to both the Schwab and Wealthspire scholarships is Sept. 30.

In recent months, the CFP Board has announced a new chair-elect for 2023 in Matthew Boersen, the head of RIA Straight Path Wealth Management, and also announced that it would be boosting its annual certification fee by $100, the first fee increase in five years. 

The Board also recently touted an increase in 2021 of the number of female, Black and Hispanic CFP professionals in 2021; the percentage of female CFP professionals totaled more than 23% of all CFPs, a 4% boost from the prior year, while the number of Black and Hispanic CFPs increased to 4,196, a growth rate four times that of other CFP professionals and a 13.8% increase over 2020.

Despite these increases, the lack of diversity among CFP professionals (and the industry at large) remains sobering. Black CFPs made up about 1.8% of all CFPs, with Hispanic CFPs making up 2.7% (compared with 14.2% and 18.4%, respectively, among the general population). According to an analysis by Cerulli Associates, in 2019 only 2.9% of advisors identified as Black or African-American, 5.1% identified as Hispanic or Latino, 4.3% identified as Asian, and only 18% of advisors in the industry were female.

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