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

Quarterly Newsletter: Fall 2021

D.A. Abrams

Fall is always a busy time for professionals and families: It marks the end of summer vacations, a return to work and the beginning of a new school year. Amid all of those activities, I hope you took the time to mark National Hispanic Heritage Month and Indigenous People’s Day on October 11, as we at the Center did, and to learn more about the diverse histories and cultures that form the fabric of our nation. We were also pleased to join our colleagues at CFP Board in celebrating World Financial Planning Day on October 6 and calling attention to the value of financial planning for people of all backgrounds.

Fall’s arrival also means the Center team is gearing up for three can’t-miss events. In two weeks, we will be hosting our Academic Research Colloquium for Financial Planning and Related Disciplines (November 11-16) in a virtual format. The Colloquium has become a meeting place for scholars, CFP® professionals and doctoral students to share rigorous research relevant to financial planning and discuss its implications for day-to-day practice and client service. We anticipate this year’s Colloquium will feature more than 30 paper presentations and 50 poster exhibits from academics around the world, and we look forward to welcoming a distinguished roster of keynote speakers.

Immediately following the Colloquium will be our 2021 Virtual Diversity Summit (November 17-19). We recently announced initial speakers and sessions for the Summit, which will focus on “Metrics that Matter” for firms’ workforce and culture and will feature the release of new thought leadership research by the Center. We will also host a Virtual Diversity Career Fair after the Summit’s conclusion on November 19. I hope you will join us for one – or all – of these exciting events.

In other Center news, we recently closed the fall 2021 scholarship application cycle, which featured three new scholarships from Center partners: the Parsec Financial CFP® Certification Diversity Scholarship, the Aspiriant Impact Scholarship, and the Ballentine Partners Scholarship to Create a Diverse Financial Planning Profession. We will announce the inaugural recipients of these scholarships, as well as awards from our other scholarship programs, later this fall.

And, our highly anticipated Guide to Careers in Financial Planning is now available. Based on detailed interviews with representatives at a wide variety of financial services firms, the guide is a resource for students, recent graduates and career changers who are considering opportunities in financial planning or just beginning to chart their career path within our profession. We look forward to using the guide to attract the next generation of financial planners and ensure we can recruit and retain the talented professionals we need to meet the growing demand for financial advice. We encourage you to download your copy today.

Finally, I want to acknowledge the many corporate sponsors, individual donors and volunteers who have made these achievements and our upcoming events possible. We greatly appreciate your commitment to creating a more diverse and sustainable profession.

Thank you for your continued interest in the Center.

With gratitude,

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


What's New


  • Guide to Careers in Financial Planning Now Available: In mid-September, the Center released a new career path guide for students, recent graduates and career changers. Guide to Careers in Financial Planningis 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. The guide is based on extensive research of financial planning firms’ workforce development practices, consisting of interviews with 77 company executives, talent recruiters and financial planners at 42 firms across the financial planning profession. It also draws on the widely read Financial Planning Career Paths: Building More Sustainable and Successful Businesses the Center released in 2019. The new guide was developed in coordination with the Center’s Workforce Development Advisory Group and with the generous support of Signature Sponsor BNY Mellon Pershing, additional support from The Ensemble Practice, Supporting Sponsors Merrill Lynch and Facet Wealth, and the Center’s Founding Sponsors Northwestern Mutual, Envestnet and Charles Schwab Foundation, in partnership with Schwab Advisor Services.

  • Three New Scholarships Support Aspiring CFP® Professionals: In early September, the Center announced three new scholarship programs to help cover the costs of coursework required to become a CFP® professional:

The first application window for these programs closed on October 17, as did the fall application period for the Deena Jo Heide-Diesslin Foundation Challenge Match Scholarship, the Richard B. Wagner Memorial Scholarship and the Facet Wealth Scholarship for Increased Diversity in Financial Planning. The Center will announce award recipients for each of these scholarship programs later this fall.


“Scholarship programs like The Deena Jo Heide-Diesslin Foundation Challenge Match Scholarship help diversify the field of financial planning. With increased diversity comes an increased understanding of our clients. Through that enhanced understanding, we can help more people transform their financial lives, find balance, and achieve true independence.”

– Katelyn Murray, CFP®, financial planner & relationship manager at Kendall Capital Management; behavioral finance blogger at Money Maverick

  • 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!

  • Connect with Top Job-Seekers at Virtual Diversity Career Fair: A Virtual Career Fair will once again follow this year’s Diversity Summit. Scheduled for November 19, the fair will focus on job-seekers who are women and people of color, and will connect employers with CFP® professionals, students and other qualified candidates in real time, including one-on-one video chats. Participating employers receive a customizable virtual booth to showcase their organization and available job openings, among other benefits. Register as a job seeker or register your company as an exhibitor here.

  • 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


  • Registration Open for 2021 Academic Research Colloquium: The Academic Research Colloquium for Financial Planning and Related Disciplines will be held in a virtual format on November 11-12 and November 15-16. Since its introduction in 2017, the Colloquium has become the premier research conference for the financial planning profession, highlighting innovative research and its implications for the financial planning practice. The Colloquium has a rigorous paper acceptance rate and features compelling presentations from leading scholars in a variety of academic disciplines that directly or indirectly relate to financial planning practice. Additionally, Practitioner Implications sessions explore the “so what” of the research for financial planning practice and are eligible for CE credit. The following distinguished scholars will deliver keynote remarks during the event:
    • Dr. John Beshears, Terrie F. and Bradley M. Bloom associate professor of business administration in the Negotiation, Organizations & Markets Unit at Harvard Business School; faculty research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research

    • Dr. Marie-Hélène Broihanne, researcher and professor of finance, LaRGE Research Center of University of Strasbourg

    • Dr. Wade D. Pfau, CFA®, RICP®, professor of retirement income, co-director of the New York Life Center for Retirement Income, and RICP® program director at The American College of Financial Services

    • Dr. Suzanne Shu, John S. Dyson professor in marketing at Cornell University’s Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management within the SC Johnson College of Business
    Learn more and register for the Colloquium here.


  • Initial Speakers and Sessions Announced for 2021 Virtual Diversity Summit: Scheduled for November 17-19, the 2021 Virtual Diversity Summit will focus on “Metrics that Matter,” highlighting qualitative and quantitative metrics for firms’ workforce and culture by experts and practitioners. The three-day agenda will feature a variety of compelling keynotes, thought-provoking panel discussions and the presentation of new research that provides actionable insights for attendees. Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, Andrew W. Mellon Professor at Boston University (BU) and founding director of BU’s Center for Antiracist Research, will be the Summit’s featured keynote speaker. Other speakers and sessions currently include:

    • Marguerita Cheng, CFP®, Chief Executive Officer for Blue Ocean Global Wealth, discussing financial planning as a career and the importance of having racially and gender-diverse financial planners.

    • Kamila Elliott, CFP®, president of GRID 202 Partners and board chair-elect of CFP Board, presenting a thought leadership paper addressing key intervention strategies that CFP® professionals can adopt to help close the racial wealth gap.

    • Raymone Jackson, global head of diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) for T. Rowe Price, sharing lessons learned from cross-industry forums of DE&I leaders.

      Learn more and register for the Diversity Summit here.

  • Center Sponsors Diversitas National Symposium: The Center is proud to sponsor the Diversitas virtual symposium on November 3. Hosted by the Center for Financial Wellness in the University of Akron’s College of Business, Diversitas 2021 will focus on giving students and career changers from populations underrepresented in the financial planning profession a better understanding of the many opportunities within the profession. It will also provide a platform for discussions about how to attract more women and people of diverse backgrounds to financial planning and wealth management careers. Learn more about Diversitas 2021.


The Center is grateful to Founding Sponsor Northwestern Mutual for renewing its support for our programs and initiatives with a $1 million gift. Northwestern Mutual’s generosity will enable the Center to continue developing a stronger pipeline of financial planners, as well as creating an academic home for the profession. The sponsorship aligns with Northwestern Mutual’s commitment to attract, develop and teach the next generation of trusted financial advisors to meet the growing consumer demand for comprehensive financial planning. Tim Gerend, chief distribution officer and executive vice president of Northwestern Mutual, offered the following comment on the firm’s gift to the Center:

“We know that our profession needs to grow and change in order to serve a diverse marketplace that is in need of trusted advice. At Northwestern Mutual, we are committed to helping make a career in financial planning more attractive and more inclusive at all levels in our profession. We are proud to continue our partnership with the Center and we are aligned in our commitment to sustainably change for the good of our industry and the clients we serve.”

Read the full announcement here.

Get Involved


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
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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