Citing a need for a more diverse and sustainable financial planner workforce, the CFP Board is launching a virtual Center for Financial Planning.

Noting that there are more financial planners over 70 years old than under 30 years old, and that there is an extremely small percentage of minority planners, the profession has reached a "tipping point," according to Kevin Keller, CFP Board's chief executive officer. 

"There's been a reduction in the number of advisors and a lack of diversity that mirrors the population," Keller says. "Going forward, we need to be more diverse, more sustainable and have an academic home that can support the growth of the profession. The Center can serve as a catalyst and a platform to meet these challenges." Attracting and developing the next generation of planners and addressing the profession's lack of gender and racial diversity will be supported by research, forums and new initiatives, according to the Board. 

'FUTURE IS IN BUSINESS SCHOOLS'

The Center, which will formally roll out in January and is supported by lead founding sponsor TD Ameritrade Institutional, will also focus on academics.

Bringing together academic institutions, educators, researchers, advisory firms and practitioners will be a priority for the Center, according to Keller. "It's important to bring these groups together and build an academic home for the profession," he says.

Over 230 colleges and universities offer a CFP Board Registered Program, but Keller believes "the future is in business schools." Too many students aren't able to find planning programs, he says, noting that logic dictates that students interested in financial planning courses "would expect them to be in business schools."

The CFP Board hopes to raise $10 million to $12 million for the Center in the next five years, Keller says. 

TD STEPS UP

TD Ameritrade is making a five-year, multi-million dollar commitment to the Center.

"The timing is perfect," says Kate Healy, the custodian's managing director of institutional marketing. “It takes the efforts we have already been doing and amplifies them for the whole industry."

The CFP Board hopes to have additional sponsors for the Center, says Marilyn Mohrman-Gillis, the Board's managing director of public policy and communications. She praised TD Ameritrade's "substantial" commitment to date, adding that she hoped it would "serve as a catalyst for others."

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