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

Quarterly Newsletter: July 2021

D.A. Abrams

In June, the Center was proud to celebrate LGBTQ Pride Month with our friends and supporters. We hope you had an opportunity to reflect on the contributions and sacrifices of those who continue to push for equality. Love is love.

June was also a time for high school and college graduations. As students across the country prepared for their next big step, our thoughts at the Center focused on new projects that encourage more individuals to consider pursuing careers in financial planning and obtaining CFP® certification.

We recently concluded the spring scholarship cycle that included: the Envestnet Scholarship, the California Lutheran University Financial Planning Scholarship and the Dalton Education CFP® Exam Review Course Scholarship. This scholarship cycle resulted in 35 awards worth nearly $150,000. To date, the Center has announced 135 scholarships for aspiring CFP® professionals, with a value of nearly $650,000. We look forward to awarding another 42 scholarships later this year, following our fall application cycle.

We also completed comprehensive research of workforce development practices across the profession that will inform the forthcoming career path guide for aspiring financial planners, scheduled for release in the coming months. This project involved interviewing 67 firm representatives at 40 firms across 12 business models. We believe that the new guide will be an invaluable resource for students, recent graduates and career changers considering financial planning careers, giving them the information they need to navigate the wide variety of career opportunities in our profession and identify the career paths that best fit their strengths and interests.

As part of our work to increase the number of diverse financial planners, we recently welcomed Dawn Harris as our Director of Diversity & Inclusion. Dawn brings more than 15 years of experience in program development and execution, diversity and inclusion initiatives, community engagement and marketing. In this newly created role, she will harness her long track record of leading and managing diversity programs and strengthening relationships with key stakeholders to help the Center continue our important work of creating a financial planner workforce that better represents the population it serves.

Our team is busy planning for two virtual meetings that will be held back-to-back online this fall. The fifth annual Academic Research Colloquium for Financial Planning and Related Disciplines will be held from November 11-12 and 15­-16. And from November 17-18, the Center will host our fourth annual Diversity Summit. This year’s event is centered around the theme of “Metrics that Matter” and will give attendees the chance to have meaningful conversations and explore actionable solutions for advancing diversity in the financial planning profession. The Summit will be followed by a virtual Diversity Career Fair on November 19 that will focus on candidates who are women and people of color. We hope you’ll join us for these thought-provoking events. Registration for the Diversity Summit and Career Fair is now open.

You will find more information about our ongoing work and other Center updates below. I also invite you to read our newly released 2020 Annual Report for a detailed overview of our programs and initiatives in the past year.

We remain grateful to our corporate sponsors, individual donors and volunteers whose commitment of time and resources make all of our programming possible. And we thank you for your continued interest in the Center and the important work we’re doing to secure the future of the financial planning profession. We look forward to working with you in the months and years ahead as we continue to create a diverse and sustainable profession that ensures all Americans have access to competent, ethical financial planning advice.

With thanks,

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


  • Read the Center’s 2020 Annual Report: The Center is proud to share our 2020 Annual Report, highlighting the important progress we have made toward our mission of building a more diverse and sustainable financial planning profession. The report provides an overview of the initiatives and partnerships undertaken by the Center in our three priority areas: Talent Pipeline, Knowledge for Practice, and Diversity and Inclusion. Read the report.


  • Center Announces New Scholarship Program: Expanding on the success of the six existing scholarship programs, in March the Center announced a new scholarship, provided in partnership with Dalton Education, to advance diversity in financial planning. The scholarship covers the entire cost of the Dalton Review CFP® exam review course for up to 15 students per year. The scholarships, valued at $1,395 each, will be awarded to those in populations that are underrepresented in the financial planning profession in terms of gender, race, ethnicity or military veteran status. The first application window for this scholarship closed in April, resulting in 12 awards to candidates preparing to take the CFP® exam in July. 

  • Close to $150,000 in Scholarships Awarded to Aspiring CFP® Professionals: The Center recently concluded the spring 2021 scholarship cycle that included the Envestnet Scholarship, the California Lutheran University Financial Planning Scholarship and the Dalton Education CFP® Exam Review Course Scholarship. Thirty-five scholarships totaling nearly $150,000 were awarded to individuals seeking to complete the coursework required to become a CFP® professional or preparing for the CFP® exam. The Center expects to award another 42 scholarships after the fall 2021 application cycle closes later this year. The application window for the fall 2021 cycle will open in September. 

  • Center Completes Comprehensive Research to Inform New Career Path Guide: The Center has completed extensive research of financial planning firms’ workforce development practices consisting of interviews with 67 firm representatives at 40 firms across 12 business models. The new research will inform the upcoming career path guide for aspiring financial planners that will be geared to  students, recent graduates and career changers considering financial planning careers. The guide will also draw on the widely read Financial Planning Career Paths: Building More Sustainable and Successful Businesses the Center released in 2019. This new resource is being developed in coordination with the Center’s Workforce Development Advisory Group and with the generous support of Signature Sponsor BNY Mellon Pershing and the Ensemble Practice, project sponsors JPMorgan Chase, Merrill Lynch and Facet Wealth, as well as Center’s Founding Sponsors Northwestern Mutual, Envestnet and Charles Schwab Foundation, in partnership with Schwab Advisor Services.

  • Spring Career Fair Connects Employers with Qualified Candidates: The CFP Board Career Center hosted another successful Online Career Fair on May 6. Nearly 200 current CFP® professionals, individuals pursuing CFP® certification and students aspiring to financial planning careers participated in the career fair. These job seekers connected with the 24 exhibiting employers through one-on-one video chats.

  • Visit the CFP Board Career Center for Your Talent Needs: These are challenging times and with unemployment rates at an all-time high, firms seeking to fill financial planning positions could find themselves overwhelmed with candidates. 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 Accepting Paper Submissions: The Call for Papers for the 2021 Academic Research Colloquium is now available. The Academic Research Colloquium for Financial Planning and Related Disciplines – which will be held in a virtual format on November 11-12 and 15-16 – has become a meeting place for scholars, practitioners and doctoral students with a rigorous paper acceptance rate and presentations from leading scholars in a variety of academic disciplines that directly or indirectly relate to financial planning practice.
  • 2021 Offerings of Client Psychology Program: Two virtual sessions will be held later in 2021: July 12-August 5 and October 11-November 4. CFP® professionals completing this program will receive 21.5 hours of general CE credit offered by Wharton Executive Education. The Client Psychology Program is designed for professionals who advise clients on investments, insurance or other aspects of financial planning, and it provides insights into understanding client psychology, improving communication with investors and achieving better outcomes. Faculty looking to better prepare their students to enter the profession would benefit greatly from this important interdisciplinary topic. Register today.


  • Registration is Open for the Virtual Diversity Summit and Career Fair Slated for November 17-19: Join us for the 2021 Virtual Diversity Summit focused on actionable solutions to advance diversity in financial planning. The theme of the fourth annual Summit is “Metrics that Matter,” highlighting qualitative and quantitative metrics for firms’ workforce and culture by experts and practitioners. The event will also feature a Virtual Diversity Career Fair focused on candidates who are women and people of color that will connect employers with CFP® professionals, students and other qualified candidates through one-on-one video chats. Registration for the Diversity Summit is available here.  Registration for the Diversity Career Fair is available here.

  • WIN Webinar Explores Work-Life Balance: The Center’s Women’s Initiative (WIN) hosted a webinar on June 2 that discussed working toward CFP® certification while managing jobs and families. Members of our WIN Council and WIN Advocates shared their personal experiences of successfully obtaining their CFP® certification while navigating day-to-day responsibilities. Watch the webinar.

  • New Research Confirms Value of CFP® Certification to Female Advisors: An independent study from Aite Group recently underscored the strengths and distinctive characteristics female CFP® professionals bring to wealth management practices and clients. The new study, titled “Building a Diverse Practice: The Value of CFP® Certification to Female Advisors,” also concludes there is an urgent need for firms to recruit more client-facing female advisors who are CFP® professionals. CFP Board commissioned the study, which the Center will use to inform its outreach and programming to attract more women to the financial planning profession.

  • On August 9-11, The American College of Financial Services will be hosting the 15th annual Virtual CAAFP (Conference for African American Financial Professionals): This is the largest gathering of its kind within financial services, with a mission to advance and foster professional relationships and development among African Americans working in the industry. This year’s event will feature inspiring and thought-provoking keynote sessions led by change agents from a variety of backgrounds. You can also read more about it via event registration  page. The CFP Board Center for Financial Planning is proud to be a sponsor at the Benefactor Level.

The RIA Leadership Network serves as a platform for participating firms to benefit from Center research and access to thought leaders, peer networking and a collaborative culture of excellence in financial planning and professionalism. The program was designed with input from more than 100 CFP® professionals who lead independent RIAs and is supported by staff and volunteer leadership from CFP Board and the Center for Financial Planning. As an RIA Leadership Network participant, firms can broaden their reach to CFP Board’s extensive network of professionals and deepen their knowledge of professional trends and real-world best practices. We are pleased to share the following statement from Allworth Financial about why they joined the RIA Leadership Network in support of the Center:

“As a growing, national RIA, Allworth Financial values the unique thought leadership resources that the Center provides and I very much like networking with other RIA leaders from across the country.”

Scott Hanson, Co-CEO, Allworth Financial


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.


  • 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.


  • Make a One-Time Gift or a Multi-Year Pledge to Support Our Work: We hope this newsletter inspires you to join us in advancing the financial planning profession. 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. If you have questions or are interested in making 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

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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