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Financial planning — and the financial services industry, more broadly — has long been an arena of predominantly white men.
Industry leaders have been working to boost diversity, and while progress has been slow, it seems to be bearing some fruit. Still, 83% of certified financial planners in 2021 were white, and 77% were men, according to the CFP Board.
CNBC spoke with Dennis Moore, CFP, the new volunteer president of the Financial Planning Association, to discuss diversity roadblocks and what the trade group is doing to foster a more inclusive culture. Moore, who will serve a one-year term as FPA president, is chief operating officer of Dallas-based Quest Capital Management.
Greg Iacurci: Is diversity a core issue for the FPA?
Dennis Moore: It is. Our industry has a long way to go to increase the diversity of our practitioner community. The American public is becoming more diverse, and our profession is falling short of matching that growth.
GI: How might more diversity benefit consumers, too?
DM: Financial planning is for everybody; everybody needs competent and ethical financial advice. At the same time, they’re looking for someone that they have some commonalities with. If we really want the public to thrive and engage in financial planning, we need to be sure that our financial planners reflect the diversity that is within America.
We’re also hoping to make financial planning a career choice that’s more known. That goes from everything from outreach on college campuses to encouraging mentorships to diversity scholarships to attend some of our FPA events. It’s important for the profession and important for the consumer.
GI: How do you gauge success?
DM: If we can basically mirror the diversity that’s in the U.S., I think that’s a great target.
GI: How is the FPA fostering that?
DM: We have a Diversity and Inclusion Committee at FPA that works closely with the board and helps us look for opportunities to support our diverse membership.
We have what we call “knowledge circles,” [for example]. They’re seven different community-based circles [for] diverse parts of our membership, from women in finance to African Americans, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders. Just over the last year, we’ve had a 22% growth in these communities. That’s one way we’re reaching out to existing members and hopefully encouraging more to join FPA.
GI: What do they do?
DM: Each one may have a different cadence but [generally have] monthly meetings. [Participants] have an opportunity to engage in discussion, hear from experts, build…
Read More: A lack of diversity still persists in the financial planning industry