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Practice Management > Diversity and Inclusion

Merrill Pledges $1.25M to CFP Board Diversity Efforts

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What You Need to Know

  • The donation will support initiatives including the annual Diversity Summit and 16 scholarships for diverse individuals pursuing CFP certification.
  • Merrill, a longtime supporter of the Diversity Summit, becomes the center's newest founding sponsor.

Merrill Wealth Management has pledged $1.25 million to support the CFP Board Center for Financial Planning’s initiatives, including the annual Diversity Summit and 16 scholarship awards for diverse individuals pursuing CFP certification, the board said Tuesday.

As part of the pact, Merrill will also be lead sponsor of the CFP Board’s diversity efforts for the next four years.

Merrill has already been a longtime supporter of the Diversity Summit. With the $1.25 million gift, it becomes the newest founding sponsor of the center, the board said.

The added support from Merrill “directly addresses two of the Center’s main strategies — Talent Pipeline and Diversity and Inclusion,” the board said. “Since its founding in 2015, the Center’s initiatives have made a measurable impact.”

Pointing to some of the success that’s been achieved, the board noted that the number of certified financial planners under 30 has grown by 83% and, as reported in January, the number of female CFP professionals increased to an all-time high of 21,504 (accounting for 23.4% of all CFP professionals).

Also, as of Dec. 31, the number of Black and Hispanic CFP professionals had grown 13.8% since 2020, the board added.

The wirehouse’s gift “will allow the Center to further grow its event series,” the board said.

As an example, the board noted that this year, university students from underrepresented backgrounds pursuing CFP certification will be granted stipends to attend the fifth annual Diversity Summit on Oct. 27 in Washington.

“The Center was founded to address systemic challenges within the profession and build a more inclusive talent pipeline, welcoming people with diverse backgrounds as well as attracting younger financial planners,” according to CFP Board CEO Kevin R. Keller.

“Merrill’s support helps to ensure that Center initiatives continue to foster progress and positively impact CFP professionals and those considering CFP certification,” he said in a statement.

The center relies on corporate contributors such as Merrill, along with individual donors, to “support meaningful initiatives to achieve its mission: to create a more diverse and sustainable financial planning profession,” the board said.

“We partnered with the Center many years ago to advance our shared goal of increasing diversity within the wealth management profession,” recalled Andy Sieg, Merrill Wealth Management president.

“Merrill financial advisors are on the front lines in our efforts to improve the financial lives of our clients,” Sieg said in a statement. “We are pleased to help the CFP Board support a new generation of CFP professionals that better reflect the diverse communities we serve.”

(Image: Shutterstock)