From the Desk of D.A. Abrams, Managing Director

Quarterly Newsletter: Winter 2021

D.A. Abrams

The Center team had much to be thankful for during this holiday season: Another successful Academic Research Colloquium for Financial Planning and Related Disciplines, and an insightful and inspiring fourth annual Diversity Summit and Career Fair, and the continued generosity and support of our donors and sponsors. Held virtually, our fifth annual virtual Colloquium drew 703 researchers, practitioners, graduate students, and leaders of financial planning practices for a thoughtful discussion of rigorous research with important implications for our profession. Twenty-eight outstanding papers were presented, as were twenty research posters. Attending practitioners also had an opportunity to earn continuing education credit through many of the Colloquium sessions.

Our 2021 Diversity Summit tackled the critical questions of how we hold firms, academic institutions, stakeholder groups and individuals accountable for fostering more inclusive workplaces and advancing racial and ethnic diversity in our profession. Also held online, the Summit featured an exciting lineup of dynamic speakers, personal reflections by CFP® professionals, knowledge-sharing sessions and presentations of new research that will help our profession address its diversity challenges internally and on the client side.

Just one of the highlights included our announcement of 5 new scholarship programs that were launched in 2021 and 5 more planned in 2022, for a total of 15 scholarships – a 167% increase since 2020 year-end.

These signature events and the Center’s many other programs and partnerships are only made possible by the contributions of donors and sponsors. We remain ever grateful for their partnership and commitment to ensuring a more sustainable future for our profession.

If the work of the Center really speaks to you, we hope you will consider a gift to the Center’s Leadership Annual Fund, which starts with donations of $1,000 per year. Because these donors are so critical to the success of the Center, we list the names here on our website and in our Annual Report.  Every penny of your contribution goes directly to our programming in turn helps  . I thank you for your continued interest in the Center and wish you and your families a warm and happy holiday season.

With gratitude,

D.A. Abrams, CAE
Managing Director
CFP Board Center for Financial Planning


What's New


  • 2021 Diversity Summit Explores Metrics That Matter: Close to 900 attendees joined the Center virtually for our fourth annual Diversity Summit from November 17-18. Over two days of compelling keynote presentations and thought-provoking sessions, diversity and inclusion experts and financial planning practitioners together explored the qualitative and quantitative metrics that can help hold firms, academic institutions, influencer organizations and individuals accountable for taking action to increase racial and ethical diversity in our profession. Senior, emerging, and future leaders in the field shared their personal reflections on the challenges and opportunities for people of color, and representatives from firms of all types and sizes shared best practices and critical lessons learned from their efforts to advance racial equality. Summit highlights included:
    • A fireside chat between Center Managing Director D. A. Abrams and McArthur Fellow and bestselling author Dr. Ibram X. Kendi about how the financial planning profession can examine and eliminate policies that have created racial disparities.

    • The Center’s presentation of a new thought leadership paper, Metrics That Matter, which provides further insights to firms on leading and lagging metrics, conducting due diligence, and scaling DE&I programs.

    • A presentation by CFP Board Chair-Elect Kamila Elliott, CFP® and Brent Kessel, CFP® of Two American Financial Plans: The Next 50 Years of the Racial Wealth Gap and What You Can Do About It — their research on the racial wealth gap and key financial planning intervention strategies to help eliminate it.

The Center is grateful to our Diversity Summit sponsors: premier sponsor Merrill; major sponsors Ballentine Partners, Capital Group and Vanguard; benefactor sponsors the Financial Alliance for Racial Equality, J.P. Morgan Chase and Morgan Stanley; champion sponsor Wealthspire; supporting sponsors Equitable, Facet Wealth, LPL and Wilmington Trust; patron sponsors Edward Jones and Fidelity; and contributor sponsor Northern Trust/Flex Shares.

View more Summit highlights, including recordings of select sessions, on the event website.

  • Center Joins Financial Alliance for Racial Equality: On November 17, the Center proudly joined the Financial Alliance for Racial Equality (FARE), a partnership between leading financial services firms, associations, and historically Black colleges and universities that addresses barriers to entry faced by Black advisors and financial professionals. The Center will collaborate with other FARE members to help Black professionals become more familiar with opportunities in financial planning and ensure they have the support and other resources needed to succeed in the profession. Additionally, FARE was a benefactor sponsor of the fourth annual Diversity Summit, and the alliance plans to launch a scholarship program in spring 2022 that will provide funds to diverse candidates for CFP® certification.


  • Firms and Job Seekers Connect at Virtual Diversity Career Fair: The 2021 Diversity Summit concluded with a Virtual Diversity Career Fair on November 19. 43 employers and nearly 300 job seekers participated in the career fair, which focused on connecting employers with CFP® professionals, students and other qualified candidates who are women and people of color. The event also featured a panel presentation of employers in financial planning who shared career guidance and tips on how to be a successful job candidate and land the opportunity that fits your strengths and interests.  The Center launched five new scholarships in 2021, with an additional five more planned in 2022, increasing the number a total of 15 scholarships. This represents a 167 % increase since 2020 year-end, and a cumulative total of 184 awards for approximately $832,000 since the launch of the Center.  84 new awards planned by 2021 year-end for approximately $332,000, the highest awarded in a single year since Center's launch. The Center will host its next Online Career Fair in spring of 2022

  • Center Announces New Scholarship Opportunity with College for Financial Planning® : On November 18, the Center was pleased to join with the College for Financial Planning® — a Kaplan Company to announce a new scholarship supporting CFP® exam prep. The scholarships will cover the full cost of the College’s Premium CFP® Exam Prep Review course. The College will award 5 CFP® Exam Prep Review scholarships to March 2022 CFP® exam-takers who are qualified applicants on a first-come, first-served basis. Learn more about the scholarship and apply.

  • Visit the CFP Board Career Center for Your Talent Needs: Filling financial planning positions can be a time-consuming process for firms, whether they are overwhelmed with candidates or struggling to find the right fit for an opening. The CFP Board Career Center’s efficiency — and the fact that its job applicants are either CFP® professionals or those pursuing CFP® certification — saves employers time and money by targeting the right candidates from the start. Post your open positions and find your next great hire today!

  • Partner with the Center to Promote Your Scholarship: The Center is seeking to promote scholarships offered by academic institutions and financial services firms that help cover the cost of either the CFP® certification education coursework, the CFP® exam review course or the exam. We will list qualified scholarships on our website and promote them to candidates for CFP® certification nationwide. Please let us know if your organization offers such scholarships, or if you are aware of other organizations that offer them, by contacting Eddy Demirovic, director of talent pipeline, at


  • 2021 Academic Research Colloquium: The Center hosted its fifth annual Academic Research Colloquium for Financial Planning and Related Disciplines in a virtual format on November 11-12 and November 15-16 with 703 registered attendees. The Colloquium is the premier research conference for the financial planning profession, highlighting innovative research and its implications for the financial planning practice. This year’s speakers were particularly focused on topics in behavioral economics and the psychology of financial decision making — two timely and important areas affecting the financial planning profession. The Colloquium maintained a very competitive acceptance rate for research papers, with 18% of submitted papers accepted. A total of 28 research papers and 20 posters were presented at the Colloquium, with 7 of the papers earning best paper awards.

    The Colloquium was made possible with support from premier sponsor Merrill; major sponsors Ballentine Partners, Capital Group and Vanguard; benefactor sponsors FARE, J.P. Morgan Chase and Morgan Stanley; champion sponsor Wealthspire; supporting sponsors LPL and Facet Wealth; and contributor sponsor FlexShares.

In 2021, we successfully launched the RIA Leadership Network. According to Cerulli research, there are more than 17,000 RIAs in the United States, and the number continues to grow, even as large RIAs, often backed with private equity funding, acquire practices to grow nationally. It is a dynamic space with M&A deal making every week and various business models being tested in the market. Innovative technology and services companies also figure in the mix, adding new capabilities to advisors, firms, and ultimately to clients. With all of this as backdrop, the Center launched the RIA Leadership Network in early 2021 and would like to thank the 27 leading RIAs who have supported the Center and participated in seven thought leadership events throughout the year (see the full list of RIA Leadership Network participating firms here).

While this is only the inaugural year of The RIA Leadership Network, it is poised for continued growth moving forward in 2022 and beyond. We will continue to offer unique professional development events with exclusive offerings from external contributors, early insights from CFP Board, and networking opportunities. Pacific Life Advisory has agreed to become the first Program Sponsor beginning in 2022, and their team of CFP® professionals is excited to engage advisors during events. For 2022, participants can expect a greater emphasis on networking with one another and other subject matter experts; an in-person gathering attached to a major professional conference, exploring diversity and inclusion topics to help with talent acquisition and retention, and insights into policy changes and industry trends.

A special thanks to all the pro bono contributors who took the time to deliver outstanding content this year, and all the early-adopter firms who joined and participated in the program.

  • Rita Cheng CFP®, Blue Ocean Global Wealth
  • Tom Giachetti, JD, Stark & Stark
  • Ray Ferrara CFP®, ProVise Management Group, LLC
  • Christine Sjolin and Craig Strauser, FP Transitions
  • Stephanie Bogan, Limitless Advisor Coaching
  • Mark Johannessen CFP®, Creative Planning
  • Scott Hanson CFP®, Allworth Financial
  • Philip Palaveev, The Ensemble Practice
  • Eddy Demirovic, CFP Board
  • Erin Botsford CFP®, The Advisor Authority
  • Andre Taylor, Taylor Insight Consulting

RIA Leadership Network Firms

Firm Name HQ Location Firm Name HQ Location
Allworth Financial Sacramento, CA Pacific Life Advisory Newport Beach, CA
Apex Financial Services Atlanta, GA Plancorp St. Louis, MO
Beaird Harris Dallas, TX ProVise Management Group, LLC Clearwater, FL
Blue Ocean Global Wealth Gaithersburg, MD Petersen Hastings Kennewick, WA
Brewster Financial Brooklyn, NY Private Ocean San Rafael, CA
Calamita Wealth Management Charlotte, NC Resource Consulting Group Orlando, FL
Carlson Capital Management Northfield, MN Savant Wealth Management Rockford, IL
Center for Financial Planning, Inc. Southfield, MI Schaeffer Financial Rockville, MD
The Colony Group Boston, MA TCI Wealth Advisors Tucson, AZ
Creative Planning Kansas City, MO Urban Wealth Management El Segundo, CA
Dowling & Yahnke San Diego, CA Valeo Financial Advisors Carmel, IN
Kochis Global San Francisco, CA Wealthspire Advisors New York, NY
Moisand Fitzgerald Tamayo Orlando, FL Zero Alpha Group Orlando, FL

The 2022 calendar of events begins in February, so don’t wait to learn more and to join the RIA Leadership Network! Contact Dan Limbago at to learn how individuals and firms can participate.

Get Involved


  • Financial Planning ReviewWe are pleased to announce that Volume 4, Issue 3 of Financial Planning Review is now available online. Financial Planning Review, the Center’s academic journal, is available to more than 90,000 CFP® professionals and to scholars worldwide via the Wiley Online Library.

  • Financial Planning Research Network on SSRN: This online resource, sponsored and built by the Center, hosts and provides free access to pre-published papers from researchers and authors from around the world. The site currently holds more than 6,800 papers, including proceedings from the Academic Research Colloquium and other conferences related to financial planning, as well as a series of eJournals, such as Practitioner Articles & Resources, which allow practitioners to share papers that are not necessarily research but valuable to practice. The site generated more than 45,000 downloads in September and recently surpassed 1.6 million downloads since its launch in November 2019.

  • Career Path Guide for Firms: We encourage firm leaders and CFP® professionals to read Financial Planning Career Paths: Building More Sustainable and Successful Businesses and share it within your networks. The guide is designed to help employers attract and develop talented professionals, while giving financial planners a roadmap for navigating their own financial planning careers. Establishing and communicating clear career paths is crucial to helping today’s professionals achieve their full potential and to attracting the next generation of talent our profession needs. Download the guide.

  • Guide to Careers in Financial Planning: We also encourage firms and CFP® professionals to share our new career path guide for aspiring financial planners with students, recent graduates and career changers in your networks. Guide to Careers in Financial Planning is designed to help these audiences learn more about what financial planners do, understand the broad range of career opportunities in the profession, and find financial planning career paths that are best suited to their strengths and interests. Download the guide.

  • Reports on Racial Diversity in Financial Planning: We invite you to download the Center’s thought-leadership reports on diversity in the financial planning profession:

Racial Diversity in Financial Planning outlines research-based, actionable initiatives to advance racial diversity in the profession that can be implemented by firms, schools, partner organizations and CFP® professionals. Why Diversity Matters outlines the business case for diversity to firms and explains why diversity is so crucial to the sustainability of the financial planning profession. Diversity in Action compiles a series of case studies from several firms that outline their current DE&I initiatives and provide advice on how others can replicate those efforts.

Celebrate with the Center at our in-person Donor Wall Event on March 9, 2022. The Donor Wall celebrates and recognizes our donors who make our programs at the Center possible. At this year’s event, we will share our updated Donor Wall that reflects the generosity and dedication of our valued donors and sponsors. For more information, please contact Beth Miller at


  • Become a Mentor to Candidates Pursuing CFP® Certification: The Center invites CFP® professionals to volunteer as mentors in the CFP Board Mentor Program. The program is designed to match candidates with CFP® professionals who can provide guidance and support as they complete the certification process and begin their financial planning career. For questions, please contact us at

  • Promote Gender Diversity by Becoming a Women’s Initiative (WIN) Advocate: The Center is seeking CFP® professionals to become WIN Advocates and help raise awareness in their communities of financial planning as a rewarding career opportunity for women. Advocates receive a toolkit of resources from the Center, including presentations and handouts, and are invited to participate in periodic webinars to share updates, experiences and other information. Learn more and sign up to become a WIN Advocate.


  • Celebrate with the Center at our in-person Donor Wall Event on March 9, 2022. The Donor Wall celebrates and recognizes our donors who make our programs at the Center possible. At this year’s event, we will reveal our updated Donor Wall that reflects the generosity and dedication of our valued donors and sponsors, and there is still time to add your name to the Donor Wall. One hundred percent of your donation helps us to create a more diverse and sustainable financial planner workforce and a research-based, recognized body of knowledge for financial planning. You can make a one-time gift by donating online, or if you prefer, donate through your donor-advised fund, stock transfer or IRA. For more information, please contact Beth Miller at If you prefer to make a multi-year pledge or planned gift, contact D.A. Abrams, CAE, managing director at

  • Donate Directly to Our Programs: For more information on sponsorships and engagement opportunities related to programs below, please contact D.A. Abrams, CAE, managing director, at

  • The Deena Jo Heide-Diesslin Foundation Challenge Match Scholarship: You will have significant impact by supporting The Deena Jo Heide-Diesslin Foundation Challenge Match Scholarship that helps qualified individuals from underrepresented populations complete the educational requirements for CFP® certification. The scholarship was established by former CFP Board Chair David Diesslin, CFP®, in memory of his wife, Deena. To date, the Center has awarded 34 of these life-enhancing scholarships totaling more than $170,000. With your help, we can increase our impact and award rate so that all of our most worthy applicants can receive a scholarship. In addition, your gifts will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the Foundation, up to $50,000 per year. Click here to donate.

    • The Richard B. Wagner Memorial Scholarship Fund: Support qualified students seeking to complete a certificate-level CFP Board Registered Program that would qualify them to sit for the CFP® exam through the Richard B. Wagner Memorial Scholarship Fund. The fund was established jointly by the CFP Board Center for Financial Planning and the Financial Planning Association to honor the memory of Dick Wagner, who held the CFP® certification and was a well-known thought leader in the financial planning community. Dick maintained a passion for advancing the financial planning profession through foundational articles such as “To Think… Like a CFP® (Professional)” and efforts like the What is Finology? Project, which studies our personal relationships with reciprocity and money. CFP® professionals are encouraged to learn more about Dick Wagner’s work on Finology by visiting the project's website, listening to podcasts and signing up for the newsletter. We thank all of the donors who have helped us reach $247,719 of our $250,000 scholarship funding goal. To make a difference in someone’s life by donating to the fund, please click here.

    • RIA Leadership Network: RIA firms have an opportunity to further demonstrate their commitment to the profession by partnering with the Center to build a sustainable financial planning profession. As an RIA Partner, firms will be connected to leaders in the profession who have themselves built and led successful practices, as well as have access to exclusive thought leadership opportunities available only to network members. To learn more about joining the RIA Leadership Network, contact Dan Limbago, Institutional Giving Officer, at
Thanks to Our Sponsors and Donors

Thank you to our generous corporate sponsors and individual donors. A listing is available here. These gifts provide important support for the Center’s ongoing efforts to grow, diversify and sustain the financial planning profession. To make a 100% tax-deductible donation to the Center, please click here or contact D.A., Abrams, CAE, managing director, at

All of your generous contribution will go directly toward funding the Center’s critical programs.


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