By Cyril Tuohy
In the latest sign that the financial planning industry appears serious about attracting more women into its ranks, the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards has announced the formation of the Women’s Initiative Council (WiN Council).
The council’s mission is to identify why relatively few women choose to become part of the financial planning profession, recommend and encourage women to pursing carriers in financial planning and undertake efforts to address the gender gap in financial planning, the CFP Board said in a news release.
“The need to attract more women to financial planning and to make this career path more attractive to women presents a hug opportunity — for women and for business,” said Nancy Kistner, chair of the WiN Council.
The 13-member council consists of 12 women and one man.
CFP Board research, citing data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, has found that women make up 31 percent of U.S. financial advisors. Only 23 percent of CFP-designated professionals are women, the CFP Board also said.
The CFP Board said its research has also found that many women abandon the journey to becoming a CFP professional.
At the end of last year, 52,797 men had moved through four stages to attain or retain CFP certification, but only 15,938 women had done so, the CFP Board said.
“Somewhere on this decision-making path, women are exiting, or they are not getting on the first place,” the CFP Board said in a white paper titled “Making More Room for Women in the Financial Planning Profession,” which outlines recommendations on how to increase the number of women earning the CFP designation.
Attracting more women to the profession is considered critical to the future growth of the financial planning profession.
Some industry forecasters say the profession is even in danger of shrinking as young advisors aren’t replacing veterans at a rate guaranteed to secure net gains.
Demand for financial advice, by contrast, is predicted to remain robust as individual investors and families take on the responsibility of finding their own retirements as defined benefit pension plans head into the sunset.
In an interview with InsuranceNewsNet, Juli McNeely, president of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, said attracting women into the planning ranks is vital as women take on more responsibility for managing household budgets.
Like men who often prefer dealing with men when discussing investments, many women prefer getting advice from other women when planning for future financial needs, advisors say.
In a spring 2013 interview with InsuranceNewsNet, financial advisor Karen Roberts, past president of Women in Financial Services, said more women in the businesses would allow for more “women talking to women.”
“Women talking to women — we need more women in the business and the way to do that is allow the business model to change because women do business differently than men,” Roberts said.
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