CFP Board Aims to Boost Those Female Ranks

The relatively small percentage of women in the ranks of certified financial planners has spurred an initiative by Certified Financial Planner Board (CFP) of Standards Inc.

“As more and more Americans need help to meet their financial goals, CFP professionals, and those who aspire to join our ranks, have an important opportunity to help Americans get back on track and take control of their financial lives,” said Nancy A. Kistner, chair of the CFP’s board of directors.

Only about 23% of the 68,000 CFP professionals are female, a statistic that has not budged for a decade. Fields like education, medicine and law, among others, are seeing more gender parity, Kistner pointed out at the Women Advisors Forum in New York. “It is well past time that we welcome more women in financial services, particularly financial planning,” she said.

The CFP board formed a Women’s Initiative Advisory Panel of financial planning representatives. The panel will help to identify the challenges women face when becoming certified and beginning a career in financial planning, as well as recommend solutions to increase the ranks of female CFP professionals. Kistner will serve as chair of the panel and lead the overall effort.

Members of the panel include: Alexa von Tobel, founder and president, LearnVest;  Bob Glovsky, former chair of the board of directors, CFP board; Karen Schaeffer, former chair of the board of directors, CFP board and former chair, Financial Planning Standards Board; Kate Healy, managing director, TD Ameritrade Institutional; Mindy Diamond, president and CEO, Diamond Consultants; Mary Beth Franklin, journalist; Lazetta Braxton, founder, Financial Foundations; Kathleen McQuiggan, president, Catalina Leadership; and Eleanor Blayney, consumer advocate, CFP Board.

The panel will meet twice in 2013, beginning with a spring meeting to closely examine the problem. Following this inaugural meeting, CFP Board will draw upon the panel’s discussion to conduct quantitative and qualitative research. The panel will meet in the fall to review the research findings and make recommendations, and release a report detailing research conclusions, as well as recommended solutions to increase the number of American women providing ethical and competent financial planning advice.

Kistner also serves as the managing director and wealth planning solutions market director at U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management. “Growing the ranks of female CFP professionals not only makes good business sense, but it builds the heart and soul of this profession, which is all about helping Americans achieve financial security,” Kistner said. “When more women advisers are helping more women clients, they are also helping spouses, children, families and communities.”