CFP Board, FPA join forces to tackle industry's lack of diversity

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. ― To help broaden the planning profession's diversity and reach, the CFP Board and FPA are combining forces to boost the board's Center for Financial Planning.

The move comes as the industry has long been unable to sufficiently attract new advisors who are minorities, young or women. It's a big challenge that FPA President Shannon Pike was quick to note.

"No one organization can tackle diversity," Pike told reporters at the association's annual conference.

African-Americans comprise approximately 13% of the U.S. population, but a mere 6% of advisors are African-American, according to data from the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Women make up less than a third of the advisor ranks.

The sustainability of the planning profession is dependent on attracting fresh talent, FPA leaders said.

"This is a big issue. There are more planners over the age of 70 than under the age of 30," Pike added.

The Center for Financial Planning was founded in 2015 in part to help the industry better reflect an increasingly diverse America.

The FPA will help raise awareness of the center's work and also encourage its 24,000 members to contribute and get involved, too. The CFP Board, meanwhile, will commit itself to raising awareness among CFP professionals of the value of becoming a member of the FPA, the organizations said.

The collaboration could also benefit the FPA over time. If the Center for Financial Planning is successful in bringing in new planners, those advisors could join the association. Currently, about 80,000 professionals have gotten the CFP designation, according to the board.

"We should do all we can to promote one another's interest," said Blaine Aiken, chair of the board of the directors of the CFP Board. He is also executive chairman of fi360, a fiduciary training organization.

But this is also just a beginning; the two groups are exploring additional ways to further collaborate, according to Lauren Schadle, CEO of the FPA.

"This is two organizations working strategically to advance the profession," she said.

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Diversity and equality Training Shannon Pike Blaine Aikin FPA CFP Board