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Number of Female CFPs Grew 3% in 2020

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The number of female certified financial planners increased to an all-time high of 20,633 in 2020 — a 3.1% gain from 2019, according to the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards. The number of Black and Hispanic CFPs grew 12.6%, but these planners still make up a sliver of the total CFP population.

The growth rate of the female CFP population fell slightly from 2019, when the number rose 4% to top 20,000 for the first time.

Women accounted for 23.3% of CFPs last year, according to the CFP Board.

According to the CFP’s WIN program, launched in 2013, the share of planners who are women has remained around 23% for the last several years. A white paper released after the launch of the program said the growth of women in the business “will be a marathon not a sprint.”

More Work to Be Done

There is still more work that needs to be done to attract women to the field, according to Melissa Brennan, a financial planner at ARS Private Wealth in Houston, Texas.

“I think the success of collegiate financial planning programs has really helped draw more women into the business,” she told ThinkAdvisor on Tuesday. “When I started 20 years ago, financial planners came from the insurance or investment world and wanted to offer their clients more, so they became financial planners. Most of the insurance and investment people 20 years ago were men.”

Brennan recalled she had a sales associate at a mutual fund event tell her once: “If you want to know which direction to go, follow the gray-haired men in the blue suits.”

“However, “now that college students can enroll in financial planning programs and get bachelor’s and master’s degrees in financial planning, we’re drawing in a substantial number of young women [to] the field,” she said.

Although “we still have some time to go before we see the numbers even out,” she said, “we’re making strides in the right direction.”

There are a ”larger proportion of female to male CFP practitioners” in the Dallas-Fort Worth area “than in most areas of the country, but we still have work to do breaking down gender stereotypes in the financial services industry,” she added.

Black, Hispanic CFPs

In another positive sign for 2020, the number of Black and Hispanic CFP professionals increased to 3,688, up 12.6% from 3,274 in 2019, CFP Board said. The growth rate was almost five times that of all CFP professionals.

The number of Black CFPs grew to 1,493, but they still only accounted for 1.68% of planners. The number of Hispanic CFPs increased to 2,170 (2.46% of CFPs). There were only 25 biracial black and Hispanic CFPs (.028% of CFPs).

Jeff Levine, Buckingham Wealth Partners director of advanced planning and Kitces.com director of advisor education, tweeted: “Granted, it’s 12% growth on a small number, but hey… it’s progress!”

“The increase in the number of CFP professionals of color reflects the strong efforts by CFP Board and the Center for Financial Planning to create a more diverse and sustainable financial planning profession,” according to CFP Board CEO Kevin R. Keller.

The total number of CFP professionals reached an all-time high of 88,726 last year, a 2.7% increase from 2019.

— Check out We Asked, Advisors Answered: How Can the Industry Increase Diversity? on ThinkAdvisor.