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Practice Management > Diversity and Inclusion

Less Than a Quarter of CFPs Are Women (Still)

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What You Need to Know

  • The share of planners who are women has been stuck around 23% for years, the CFP Board reports.
  • But the growth rate in the number of female CFPs rose from a year earlier, to 4%.
  • Black and Hispanic CFPs made up 1.7% and 2.7% of the total planner population, both up slightly from a year ago.

The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards recorded increases in the number of female, Black and Hispanic CFP professionals in 2021, according to a recent report from the organization.

As of Dec. 31, the number of CFP professionals reached a record high of 92,055, up 3.8% from 2020.

Of that total, 23.4% of all CFP professionals were women, numbering 21,504 — a year-over-year increase of 4.2%, versus a 3.1% gain in 2020.

But the overall share of CFPs who are women remained nearly flat from 23.3% in 2020.

According to the CFP Board’s Women’s Initiative, 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.”

The number of Black and Hispanic CFP professionals grew by 13.8% in 2021 to 4,196. 

Specifically, there are now 1,652 Black CFP professionals, or 1.8% of all CFP professionals. Their numbers grew by more than 10% in 2021. Black CFPs comprised 1.7% of the total in 2020.

The number of Hispanic CFP professionals rose by some 15% to 2,499 in 2021. This group now makes up 2.7% of all CFP professionals, up from 2.5% in 2020. 

Last year, the number of biracial Black and Hispanic CFP professionals grew by more than 80% to 45, or 0.1% of the total.

“We are especially excited to see strong increases of women, Black and Hispanic individuals pursuing a career in financial planning, as diversifying the financial planning profession is one of CFP Board’s core strategic priorities and central to the work of our Center for Financial Planning,” Kevin Keller, chief executive of the CFP Board, said in a statement. 

“While we are proud of our growth, there is much work ahead of us as we develop initiatives to further strengthen the talent pipeline for years to come.”

Class of ’21

The board reported that the class of 2021 welcomed 5,273 new CFP professionals, the largest and most diverse class in CFP Board history, recording all-time highs in these categories:

  • New female CFP professionals: 1,374, vs. 1,167 in 2020.
  • New Black CFP professionals: 150, vs. 139.
  • New Hispanic CFP professionals: 267, vs. 200.
  • New biracial Black and Hispanic CFP professionals: 6, vs. 2. 

“As the U.S. population continues to diversify, the demographics of wealth will change,” D.A. Abrams, the CFP Board’s managing director for the Center for Financial Planning, said in the statement. “More diverse CFP professionals will better meet the needs of their clientele and help them achieve their financial dreams. 

“The Center will continue to develop innovative programs to build a financial planning workforce that better reflects the population it serves.”

CFP Board said it will make monthly reports of data on the racial and ethnic diversity of CFP professionals, with some modification to the categories reported. Following are the new categories:

  • American Indian or Alaska Native.
  • Asian or Pacific Islander.
  • Black or African American.
  • Hispanic or Latino.
  • White.
  • Multiethnic.
  • Unknown.

The January report breaks down CFP professionals by age, gender, race and ethnicity, and by state. 


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