By Cyril Tuohy
An advisory panel to the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards has recommended a series of steps aimed at encouraging more women to join the financial planning profession in a fight to stave off what the board calls the “feminine famine.”
The study calls for making women more visible through the industry and within their own employers.
Nancy Kistner, chair of the WIN Advisory Panel which developed the recommendations, said attracting more women to the profession is a win for women and for business.
“The need to attract more women to financial planning and to make this career path more attractive to women is more than just a challenge,” she said in a news release. “It also represents a huge opportunity – for women and for business.”
The number of financial advisors in the U.S. fell by 1.3 percent – about 4,000 – in 2011 and will fall by another 18,600 over the next five years, according to a report issued last year by Cerulli Associates. There were 316,109 financial advisors at the end of 2011.
Advisors who are in the baby boomer generation are preparing to sell or close their practices as they anticipate retirement. Not enough new blood is joining the financial advisory ranks at a rate high enough to ensure growth.
When it comes to women financial advisors, the gender is underrepresented in the industry.
Karen Roberts, a past president of Women in Financial Services, told InsuranceNewsNet that women make up only 23 percent of all employees in financial services distribution, yet make 85 percent of all family financial decisions.
Women have made gains but the upward movement among agents and advisors in the U.S. has been very slow, she said.
“We need the talent and skills of young women to advance the financial planning profession and to ensure the longevity of our industry,” said Tom Nally, president of TD Ameritrade Institutional. TD Ameritrade Institutional and Ameriprise Financial sponsor WIN and the research.
Recommendations developed by the WIN panel include giving women more visibility at speaking engagements and promoting financial planning through girls-only groups like Girl Scouts and Invest in Girls.
The panel also recommended educating high school guidance counselors about financial planning, elevating the visibility of initiatives to develop women financial planning professionals, and sponsoring networks of women financial professionals.
The CFP board also said it would commit to several initiatives to make good on the research.
The initiatives include creating a WIN Council to “supervise and advise” on progress toward gender parity and conducting pilot programs with “four or five” firms to boost gender diversity, the CFP board said.
Cyril Tuohy is a writer based in Pennsylvania. He has covered the financial services industry for more than 15 years. Cyril may be reached at [email protected].
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