The Investments and Wealth Institute's diversity scholarship program, which launched in January, has gained traction among African American and Latinx wealth management professionals seeking a Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA), Certified Private Wealth Advisor (CPWA) or Retirement Management Advisor (RMA) designation, the organization reports.
“I was surprised at how much of an impact it made this year,” said Sean Walters, CEO of IWI. “We’ve seen a large rise in the number of African Americans who’ve come to us to apply for one of the certifications over our existing benchmarks, the existing percentage of African Americans in our organization. The same with Latinos and Hispanics. Women in Wealth—we saw a slight rise. It’s actually gotten a little more pronounced as the year has progressed.”
The scholarship program has arrived amidst a period in which the financial services sector tries to reckon with the lack of racial and gender diversity within it. Less than seven percent of financial advisors are Black, Hispanic, Asian or Native American. Besides IWI, the College for Financial Planning, which administers the Certified Financial Planner designation, a requirement for the CIMA and CPWA, announced in October that it had launched its own diversity scholarship, as well.
The 74 candidates, all from underrepresented backgrounds, represented the highest number of scholarship recipients the organization has granted in any category to date. The Women in Wealth scholarship, from which the diversity scholarship launched, had a total of 43 recipients this year. IWI gave a total of 194 scholarships this year, including to professionals qualifying for assistance as next generation talent or who incurred a financial hardship.
Only 24 candidates qualified for more than one scholarship category.
IWI calculated the number of diverse recipients who received at least one of their scholarships: 36 recipients were African American, 32 were Hispanic or Latinx, 24 were Asian, two were Middle Eastern, one was American Indian. Eleven recipients represented more than one ethnicity.
The awarded scholarship amount depended on the scholarship category. CIMA and CPWA candidates received $2,000 or less toward their costs, while RMA certification seekers received between $500 and $1,000 in assistance.