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CFP Professionals' Diversity Grows, But Lags U.S. Demographics

The total number of CFP professionals topped 95,000 for the first time. While the percentage of women and racially diverse certificants grew from the previous year, the pool continued to mirror the industry’s diversity as a whole.

The CFP Board boosted its total number of professionals to 95,137 in 2022, while touting increases in the percentage of female and racially and ethnically diverse professionals (though these numbers continue to significantly lag the country’s demographics as a whole).

The 3.4% boost in overall certificants in 2022 was similar to a 3.8% bounce between 2020 and 2021, according to CFP Board statistics released last year. In 2022, the board brought in 5,214 new CFP professionals, with more than 55% of the new additions being under 35, according to the Board.

“CFP Board is focused on creating a more sustainable financial planning profession that reflects the diversity of the people we serve,” CEO Kevin Keller said about the newly-released stats. “To advance the profession and best serve the needs of the public, we need to continue to attract talent and insights from every background.” 

Additionally, 1,519 new women CFP professionals joined in 2022, nearly 30% of new certificants, with the total number of women CFP professionals standing at 22,446—23.6% of all professionals, a 4.4% boost from 2021.

Racially and ethnically diverse CFP professionals grew by 763—15% of the new pool and bringing the total to 8,715 of all CFP certificants. The number of Black CFP professionals grew by 8.8% to 1,766, which is 1.9% of all CFP professionals (compared to 1,652 and 1.8% in 2021). The number of Hispanic CFP professionals jumped to 2,710 and 2.9% of all CFP professionals, compared to 2,499 and 2.7% in 2021.

Additionally, the number of Asian or Pacific Islander CFP professionals grew to 3,883 in 2022, standing at 4.1% of all certificants (a 6.7% jump from the prior year), while American Indian or Alaskan Native CFP professionals were at 226 (0.2% of professionals) and multi-ethnic CFP professionals stood at 130 (0.1% of the total pool).

But these numbers continue to significantly lag the country’s broader demographic trends; women make up 23.6% of the CFP pool, but are 50.5% of the U.S. population, according to U.S. population estimates from the U.S. Census. Black CFP professionals account for 1.9% of CFP certificants, but approximately 13.6% of the population, while Hispanic professionals sit at 2.9% of the pool and 18.9% of the population.

The gap between CFP professionals and the county is mirrored in the financial advisory industry as a whole; according to data from Cerulli Associates, women make up only 18.2% of financial advisors, merely 5% of advisors identify as Hispanic or Latino, a paltry 2.9% identify as Black or African-American and 4% as Asian.

Kate Healy, managing director with the Center for Financial Planning, said the center had 19 scholarship programs for financial planning degree or CFP review courses, of which 17 were reserved for “students of ethnic and racial diversity,” and also pointed towards its annual Diversity Career Fair, as well as partnerships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

“Our goal is for the profession to reflect society, and we envision a future where every American has access to competent and ethical financial planning,” Healy said. “To help reach that goal, the center works with the financial advice ecosystem to create opportunities and bridge that gap.”

Last fall, the CFP Board announced a partnership with Charles Schwab on a scholarship program to boost diversity in the profession, with as many as 16 awards (up to $100,000 each) for students working to complete an undergraduate CFP Board registered program or $5,000 for a student working towards a certificate-level program.

TAGS: Careers
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