Financial planning sector gets a diversity makeover with new scholarship programme

A Colorado-based higher education institution is offering $500,000 in scholarships to candidates from underrepresented backgrounds to become certified financial planners

Financial planning has a diversity problem, which is why a well-known financial planning education institution is offering scholarships to individuals from minority backgrounds.

The College for Financial Planning, based in Colorado, US, has released its scholarship programme worth around $500,000 to its first 20 recipients.

The “Diversity Scholarship Program” will offer 60 scholarships to qualified individuals from underrepresented backgrounds studying towards a certified financial planner certification.

To be eligible, applicants “must be from underrepresented communities in the financial planning field in terms of gender, race, ethnicity, disability, or sexual orientation,” according to a shared statement.

Each scholarship is worth $7,600 and will “cover the full cost of a one-year program for CFP® certification education, consisting of required education and exam prep review, which will prepare recipients to sit for the CFP® exam.”

The scholarships will be awarded to recipients three times per year to coincide with the start of the one-year programmes that begin in March, July, and November.

The programme aims to diversify the financial planning sector and encourage the inclusion of minority individuals, which is crucial as the financial services sector more broadly suffers from a diversity problem where women and people of colour remain in the minority. The financial advisor sector, for example, was dominated by white advisors in 2020 (82%), where female representation sat at 16%.

However, it looks like the sector is trying to change the status quo on representation. According to the CFP Board, there was a 12.6% increase in Black and Latino CFP® professionals in 2020 from the year before. The number of women CFP® professionals grew by 3.1% from 2019, which was an all-time high.

Commenting on the scholarship programme, Dirk Pantone, President of the College for Financial Planning®, said: “We’re pleased to award our first 20 scholarships to these deserving individuals and are excited to be a part of their professional journeys in financial planning. The College is committed to the industry’s efforts to create a more diverse and inclusive workforce and to broaden the communities of people who have access to competent and ethical financial planning advice.”

The deadline for applications for the next round of 20 scholarships is April 15, 2021. Successful candidates will start their “one-year CFP® certification education program” in July 2021.

For more information including how to apply, click here.
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