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News Release

New Research Confirms Value of CFP® Certification to Female Advisors

Study by Aite Group Demonstrates Need for More Female CFP® Professionals


May 12, 2021

An independent study from Aite Group underscores the strengths and distinctive characteristics female CFP® professionals bring to wealth management practices and clients. The new study, titled “Building a Diverse Practice: The Value of CFP® Certification to Female Advisors,” also concludes there is an urgent need for firms to recruit more client-facing female advisors who are CFP® professionals. CFP Board commissioned the study.

For the study, Aite Group researched distinguishing characteristics of female CFP® professionals and compared them to female advisors without CFP® certification. The research also analyzed advisor, practice, and service level characteristics, including differences in the depth and scope of financial planning services offered.

Key findings of the study include:

  • Female CFP® professionals are particularly invested in the financial planning process. They provide written and comprehensive financial plans to more of their clients compared to male CFP® professionals and other female financial advisors. They are also more likely to give retirement and estate planning advice compared to male CFP® professionals.
  • Female CFP® professionals’ focus on financial planning does not detract from their investment management responsibilities. Female CFP® professionals are also as likely as male CFP® professionals to derive a majority of practice revenue from assets under management (AUM) and financial planning service fees.
  • Female CFP® professionals present themselves as more confident than male CFP® professionals with their ability to build client trust and their approach to financial planning. They are also more satisfied with their careers than other female advisors.
  • CFP® certification has played a role in helping female advisors grow into confident advisors. Female CFP® professionals are more likely to recommend CFP® certification to colleagues than are male CFP® professionals (64% of females strongly recommend versus 52% for males).
  • Female CFP® professionals are also more satisfied with their careers compared to other female financial advisors. Fifty-three percent indicate strong satisfaction with their careers, while 35% of other female financial advisors and 42% of male CFP® professionals report the same.

“These findings make a compelling business case for increasing the number of women in the financial planning profession,” said CFP Board CEO Kevin R. Keller, CAE. “The study confirms that financial planning is a rewarding career opportunity, and that CFP® certification is a must-have designation for women.”

Methodology and Data Sources

Aite Group’s research follows a version of the survey of 400 U.S. financial advisors fielded in Q3 2019 as well as survey data from CFP Board to increase the sample size of female CFP® professionals.

The survey included 80 female CFP® professionals and 54 female advisors without CFP® certification. The analysis also compares the female CFP® professionals to 186 male CFP® professionals.

A copy of the report can be accessed here.

about cfp board

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 firms and consumer groups as the standard for financial planning, CFP® certification is held by more than 89,000 people in the United States.


Karen Grajales
Communications Specialist