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The CFP Board Center for Financial Planning (“Center”) announced today that Merrill Wealth Management has pledged $1.25 million to support the Center’s various initiatives, including the annual Diversity Summit and 16 scholarship awards over the next four years for diverse individuals pursuing CFP® certification.

Merrill has been a longtime supporter of the Diversity Summit, and with this gift becomes the newest Founding Sponsor of the Center. This gift will allow the Center to further grow its event series. For example, this year, university students from underrepresented backgrounds pursuing CFP® certification will be granted stipends to attend the Diversity Summit in Washington, D.C.

“The Center was founded to address systemic challenges within the profession and build a more inclusive talent pipeline, welcoming people with diverse backgrounds as well as attracting younger financial planners,” said CFP Board CEO Kevin R. Keller, CAE. “Merrill’s support helps to ensure that Center initiatives continue to foster progress and positively impact CFP® professionals and those considering CFP® certification.”

The Center relies on corporate contributors such as Merrill, as well as individual donors, to support meaningful initiatives to achieve its mission: to create a more diverse and sustainable financial planning profession.

“We partnered with the Center many years ago to advance our shared goal of increasing diversity within the wealth management profession,” said Andy Sieg, President, Merrill Wealth Management. “Merrill financial advisors are on the front lines in our efforts to improve the financial lives of our clients. We are pleased to help the CFP Board support a new generation of CFP® professionals that better reflect the diverse communities we serve.”

This additional support from Merrill directly addresses two of the Center’s main strategies — Talent Pipeline and Diversity and Inclusion. Since its founding in 2015, the Center’s initiatives have made a measurable impact:

  • The number of CFP® professionals under 30 increased by 83% and, as reported in January, the number of female CFP® professionals increased to an all-time high of 21,504 (23.4% of all CFP® professionals).
  • Further, at the end of 2021 the number of Black and Hispanic CFP® professionals had increased over 2020 by 13.8% — nearly four times the growth rate of all CFP® professionals.

Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. is the professional body for personal financial planners in the U.S. CFP Board sets standards for financial planning and administers the prestigious CFP® certification – one of the most respected certifications in financial services – so that the public has access to and benefits from competent and ethical financial planning. CFP Board, along with its Center for Financial Planning, is committed to increasing the public’s awareness of CFP® certification and access to a diverse, ethical and competent financial planning workforce. Widely recognized by the public, advisors and firms as the standard for financial planning, CFP® certification is held by more than 93,000 people in the United States.

The CFP Board Center for Financial Planning seeks to create a more diverse and sustainable financial planning profession so that every American has access to competent and ethical financial planning advice. The Center brings together CFP® professionals, firms, educators, researchers and experts to address profession-wide challenges in the areas of diversity and workforce development, and to build an academic home that offers opportunities for conducting and publishing new research that adds to the financial planning body of knowledge.


Joseph Feese
Director of Public Relations