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News Release

CFP Board Center for Financial Planning Hosts Summit to Increase Diversity and Inclusion in the Financial Planning Profession

November 13, 2019

Summit focuses on accountability—holding stakeholders responsible for advancing diversity, inclusion and equality

The CFP Board Center for Financial Planning is hosting its Diversity Summit today at the JW Marriott in Washington, DC. The Summit builds upon last year’s inaugural event with a focus on Accountability—highlighting the leadership of firms, academic institutions and Influencer organizations to create a more diverse and inclusive profession.

"Recent headlines have highlighted a lack of inclusivity across the financial planning profession. As a collective, we need to diversify our ranks so we can fulfill our promise to provide every American with access to competent and ethical financial planning advice," said Susan John, CFP®, Chair of the Board of Directors for CFP Board. “Addressing the issue is the first step, but stakeholders—at every level of the profession—need to be held accountable to change their behavior that will result in a truly diverse and inclusive financial planning profession.”

At the Summit, the Center is releasing Why Diversity Matters: How Workforce Diversity and Inclusion Accelerate Business Success in Financial Services, a report that outlines why a diverse workforce is critical for both the financial planning profession and financial services firms. The business benefits of a more diverse workforce include:

  • Diverse organizations better serve diverse customers;
  • Diverse organizations can recruit better talent as they are more attractive to potential employees;
  • Diverse organizations are better at retaining talent given that employees in diverse companies are more satisfied and employee turnover is lower;
  • Diverse organizations are more creative and innovative because of the diverse environment.

In addition to the release of the report, the Summit agenda features distinguished speakers, panels and breakout sessions to share stories from senior, emerging and future leaders in the field on the challenges and opportunities for people of color. Successful programs in advancing racial and gender diversity, and critical lessons learned from various size firms will also be showcased.

“The Center was founded with a bold goal—to create a more diverse and sustainable financial planning profession,” said CFP Board CEO Kevin R. Keller, CAE. “Since its launch in late 2015, the Center has made significant strides towards achieving this goal. Blacks and Latinos comprised only 3.5 percent of CFP® professionals in 2017, but the growth rate of this group doubled from four to eight percent in 2018.”

The Summit and report are key elements in the Center’s diversity and inclusion priority, one of the core pillars of the Center’s work, along with developing the workforce of the future, increasing the academic rigor of the discipline of financial planning and providing practitioners with cutting-edge knowledge.

“Diversity leads to more creative and innovative solutions as well as better decision making and problem solving. The Center was formed to bring stakeholders together to diversify the profession and better serve the American public because this cannot be achieved independently. Together, we can effect systemic change to foster a more diverse and inclusive workforce,” said Marilyn Mohrman-Gillis, Executive Director of the CFP Board Center for Financial Planning.

The Summit is made possible with the support from Signature Sponsors Merrill Lynch and Chase; Major Sponsors Fiserv and Prudential; as well as the Center’s Lead Founding Sponsor TD Ameritrade Institutional and the Center’s Founding Sponsors Northwestern Mutual and Charles Schwab Foundation.  


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