CFP BOARD - Women's Initiative - Increasing the Number of Women CFP® Professionals

September 2014

Nancy Kistner

Eleanor Blayney, CFP®

From CFP Board's Consumer Advocate

Sept. 12 WIN Advocates Webinar 

Join us for the first CFP Board Women's Initiative (WIN) Advocates webinar on September 12 at 2 pm (EDT). Marilyn Mohrman-Gillis, Managing Director of Public Policy and Communications at CFP Board, and I will discuss the important role of WIN Advocates, and the WIN toolbox you can use to educate your communities about the need for more women CFP® professionals. Register


The Case for More Women CFP® Professionals


Making more room for women in financial planning is not simply an issue of justice or fairness – it may be essential for improving a firm’s profitability and success in the 21st century.

According to a March 2014 white paper, “Innovation by Design: The Case for Investing in Women,” published by the Anita Borg Institute (ABI), there are four key advantages that firms and organizations can expect to realize by increasing the number of their women employees:

• improved operational and financial performance;
• increased innovation;
• better problem solving and team performance; and
• enhanced firm reputation among prospective hires and clients.

While the Anita Borg Institute is focused primarily on women in technology, the findings of the paper are definitely applicable to the financial planning industry as well. Of particular value is the bibliography of studies that support the four benefits of gender diversity highlighted in the ABI paper. To download the paper, go to


Gender Diversity: What are Best Practices for Firms?


As a WIN Advocate, you may have the opportunity to design, implement, or evaluate workplace policies and practices that are designed to foster gender diversity.

Fortunately, you do not have to start from scratch. There are guidelines and assessment tools in place you can use.

Check out the website for Gender Equality Principles where you can learn more about a public-private collaboration between the San Francisco Department on the Status of Women, the Calvert Group, and Verite to develop both aspirational standards for companies promoting gender diversity, as well as assessment tools to identify their strengths and weaknesses in the area of diversity.


You can also download the 2013 Calvert survey on the diversity practices of the S&P 500 to see what initiatives are being implemented by large U.S. corporations.


Few Women Understand What Financial Planning is All About


CFP Board’s recent research on the reasons for the low numbers of female CFP® professionals showed that women in financial services who do not have CFP® certification perceive financial planning very differently from those women who do.


Opening the doors to more women in financial planning begins with basic education about what the career really entails.


Here is what you as a WIN advocate can emphasize in your outreach:


Financial planning is not a dry, boring occupation focused on numbers and spreadsheets. It’s a helping profession focused on people’s goals and making a difference in the quality of clients’ lives.


There is no one business model for financial planners. You can practice as a solopreneur, or as part of a team; you can join a small firm or nationally recognized financial services company. You can focus on clients within a defined demographic segment, such as single women executives, or on a particular specialty, such as education or estate planning.


Yes, the requirements for CFP® certification are rigorous, but that’s why the certification is so widely respected and worth the effort. For women in particular, it gives them the professional stature and confidence to succeed as financial planners.



WIN Goes on a National Speaking Tour!


Now that the white paper has been released, CFP Board will be speaking to audiences around the country on its WIN research and recommendations for making financial planning an attractive career for women. Please join us at one of the following events.


September 10, 1 pm EDT: Eleanor Blayney, CFP® will present a 45-minute BrightTALK webcast on CFP Board’s WIN Initiative. Register


September 12, 2 pm EDT: Marilyn Mohrman-Gillis and Eleanor Blayney, CFP® will present a webcast for WIN Advocates. Register


September 16, 4:30 pm EDT: Kathleen McQuiggan, Pax World Senior Vice President, and CFP Board WIN Council member, will be part of an all-women panel on the subject “Just Listen to Us: The Evolution of Women Investors Over the Last 30 Years.” The dinner meeting event is hosted by the Greater Fort Lauderdale chapter of the FPA. Kathleen will also be speaking at 5:30 pm before the panel presentation on CFP Board’s WIN. For more info, go to or call 954-370-0041.


September 24, 4 pm EDT: Eleanor Blayney, CFP® will make a guest appearance on The Client Connection, where she and host Kathleen Burns Kingsbury will discuss “The Female Advisor Famine: What We Know about Attracting and Retaining Women Advisors.” Register

October 23, 2:00 pm EDT: At the Women in Insurance and Financial Services (WIFS) 2014 National Conference, Eleanor Blayney, CFP® will lead an interactive learning session where she will discuss the WIN research and talk about why women should enter the financial planning profession. The conference runs October 22-25 in Orlando, FL. Register


Women Advisors Forum events: Attendees of the Women Advisors Forum events in Chicago (October 21) and San Francisco (November 20) can attend a session led by Marilyn Mohrman-Gillis and Eleanor Blayney, CFP®, “Making More Room for Women in the Financial Planning Profession.” Register


“Why Women Don’t Apply for Jobs Unless They’re 100% Qualified”


This is the title of a recent Harvard Business Review blog by Tara Sophia Mohr, who takes a critical look at the premise that women may be less professionally confident than men. She does not think it’s that simple.


Mohr surveyed over 1,000 men and women professionals, asking them for their reasons for not applying for a job. She concludes that it is not necessarily low confidence that keeps women, as compared to men, from applying for certain jobs, but a female propensity to “follow the rules.” In other words, they take the published requirements for a job literally, and if they don’t meet them, they’re less likely to apply than are men.


Is this propensity unreasonable? Mohr further suggests that it is not, based on the real bias in some workplaces that women do indeed need to meet more of the qualifications to be hired than do their male counterparts. Men are more often hired for their potential, and women for what they have done. Read the blog 


WHAT DO YOU THINK? Please share your opinions on our online WIN forum.






The mission of CFP Board’s Women’s Initiative (WIN) is to identify why relatively few women choose to become part of the financial planning profession, to make recommendations for encouraging and supporting women to pursue careers in financial planning, and to undertake efforts and campaigns to address the “feminine famine” in financial planning.


Learn more about the Initiative




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