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

December 2015

Nancy Kistner

Eleanor Blayney, CFP®

From CFP Board's Consumer Advocate

Introducing the CFP Board Center for Financial Planning


When it comes to achieving gender diversity in financial planning, our progress is perceptible, but still not enough. That's why the recent launch of the CFP Board Center for Financial Planning is an exciting development for CFP Board's Women's Initiative.

Among the Center's chief priorities is addressing the lack of gender and racial diversity in the financial planning profession. As such, it is committed to building on the efforts of WIN, including the development and launch of new programs to address the feminine famine in financial planning. Under the Center's direction, WIN will make greater strides toward attracting and developing more women financial planners, and can serve as a blueprint for other much-needed diversity initiatives.

The Center for Financial Planning will conduct research, convene forums and support initiatives in three key areas:

  • Diversity: Address the lack of gender and racial diversity within the financial planning profession to better mirror the diversity of the American public through a systematic approach that brings research to action to results for the broader profession.
  • NextGen Pipeline: Attract and develop the next generation of financial planning professionals, providing them the knowledge and skills to competently and ethically serve the public.
  • Academic Home: Build an academic home for the profession, bringing researchers from financial planning and related disciplines to conduct research that directly impacts practice, while providing opportunities for faculty to generate and publish new research that adds to the body of knowledge.

The Center will bring a variety of stakeholders to this broad collaboration, including our CFP® professionals; over 230 colleges and universities that offer a CFP Board Registered Program; researchers from financial planning and numerous related disciplines; key individuals and organizations that focus on racial and gender equality; and large and small firms, representing each geographical region and business model within the profession.

As the Lead Founding Sponsor of the Center, TD Ameritrade Institutional is making a five-year multi-million dollar commitment to support these important initiatives, continuing its longstanding commitment to workforce development.

CFP Board launched the Center at a November 18, 2015 event in New York City. The agenda included an introduction to the Center and engaging panel discussions on Workforce Development & Diversity and the Academic Home & Body of Knowledge.

Workforce Development & Diversity Panel

Kate Healy, Managing Director of Marketing at TD Ameritrade Institutional (right), moderates a panel discussion on workforce development and diversity at the launch of the Center for Financial Planning. The panel featured (right to left) Cy Richardson, SVP of Economics and Housing at the National Urban League; Anne Weisberg, SVP at Families and Work Institute; and Rianka Dorsainvil, CFP®, 2015 FPA NexGen President-Elect.

To learn more about the Center, including ways you can get involved, and to view the video recording from the launch event, visit the new Center website,



Work-life Balance is NOT Just a Woman’s Issue


A recent Pew Center Research study finds working parents are more likely to report “sharing equally” most of the home- and child-care tasks of the household rather than relegating these chores to the woman.

The one exception is in the management of children’s activities and schedules, which falls more often solely to Mom.

Another imbalance reported in the study is the greater frequency of mothers, as opposed to fathers, believing that parenting has impeded their career advancement.

Read the report here  


More Women Entering the Profession, but Fewer Achieving Senior Status

InvestmentNews’ latest advisory firm benchmarking study shows that the number of women “Level 3 Support Advisors” increased to 49 percent in 2015 compared to 44 percent in 2013.

At the other end of the professional spectrum, however, women have lost ground. The female percentage of “Level 1 Lead Advisors fell to 26 percent in 2015 compared to 36 percent in 2013. Another double digit loss was reported for women at the top level, “Practicing Partner,” which dropped to 14 percent in 2015 from 25 percent in 2013. OUCH.

Read the study here  


Flexible Work May Not Be the Answer for Attracting Women


While more and more companies are adopting work-flexibility arrangements for their employees, these measures are not changing the way employees work, according to a new study from LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Co.

Why? For the simple reason that employees are afraid – they believe that to participate sends a signal that they are not as ambitious as their peers.

One consulting firm – PwCLLP – has come up with a possible solution to the “stigma” felt by new moms and dads who take their full allowed leave from work. The firm now exempts anyone taking time off from being compared to their working peers in their next post-leave performance review.

The 2015 Women in the Workplace report by and McKinsey & Company is available for download here  



Waking Up to Unconscious Gender Bias in the Workplace


New research from Stanford University is bringing out into the open the often hidden beliefs about women’s capabilities that may be impeding their career advancement. The research focuses on the language used in performance reviews.


Women are two times as likely as men to be described as “supportive” and “collaborative” whereas men are more frequently praised for their independence and assertiveness.

It’s interesting to consider that the same words used frequently to describe women in the Stanford study are the same characteristics that our profession often attributes to women planners – i.e. words describing “empathy” and “helpfulness.” So the question becomes: to what extent are women’s strengths as financial planners also working as liabilities in their efforts to rise in the profession?

Read The Wall Street Journal report on the Stanford study here (subscription required) 


WIN Advocates Program Update


WIN will be taking its message to All-girls Schools! Four WIN Advocates will be presenting a panel entitled “You Cannot Be What You Cannot See: Helping Girls See Themselves as Successful Financial Planners” at the Global Forum of the National Council of Girls’ Schools in New York City, February 6 – 7, 2016.

The goal is to introduce administrators and teachers at all-girls’ schools to the availability of WIN Advocates who can speak to students about careers in financial planning.

Here's a recap of recent WIN Advocate activities:

  • On August 6, Houston-based WIN Advocate Jillian Nel, CFP®, participated on a panel titled Power Roundtable: Women in Insurance at the annual Advisor Network Summit in Las Vegas, sponsored by ALM, publishers of Retirement Advisor Magazine. Jillian spoke to an audience of 250 attendees about her road to success in the financial planning profession and how CFP® certification gave her confidence and credibility as a young woman in the industry.
  • On October 20, WIN Advocates Sameer Somal, CFP® and Rita Cheng, CFP®, presented about WIN and opportunities to get involved in the WIN Advocate program during a workshop for 150 Detroit-based financial planning professionals. The workshop, titled Diversity in America & Its Impact on Financial Planning, was part of the annual symposium hosted by the Financial Planning Association of Michigan.
  • At the end of October, Eleanor Blayney, CFP® made a presentation to the Savvy Ladies, an online community dedicated to the financial education and empowerment of women, founded by CFP® professional Stacy Francis. The title of Eleanor’s presentation was “Opportunities for Women in the Financial Planning Profession” – one of the presentations available to all WIN Advocates in their toolbox. Listen to the presentation here 






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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