Stock Groups

A lack of diversity still persists in the financial planning industry


SDI Productions | E+ | Getty Images

Financial planning — and the financial services industry, more broadly — has long been an arena of predominantly white men.

Diversification has been a goal of industry leaders. While progress has not been rapid, there have been some positive developments. seems to be bearing some fruit. According to CFP Board, however, 83% and 77% of the certified financial planners were black in 2021.

CNBC spoke to Dennis Moore, CFP. newThe Financial Planning Association’s volunteer president, will discuss diversity issues and how the organization is working to create a more inclusive culture. Moore will be serving a term of one year as president of the Financial Planning Association. He is also chief operating officer at Dallas-based Quest Capital Management.

Greg Iacurci, Diversity: Is it a key issue for FPA?

Dennis MooreYes, it is. We still have a lot to do in order to improve the diversity within our profession. Our profession is not able to match the diversity of America’s public.

GI: What could consumers gain from more variety?  

DM. Financial planning is something that everyone needs. Everyone requires competent, ethical advice. They are also looking for someone they can share some similarities with. Our financial planners must reflect America’s diverse culture if the public is to prosper and be engaged in financial planning.

Find out more from personal finance:
New guaranteed income experiments inspired by MLK Jr.
More than 70% of Black Americans don’t have a will
First-generation Black wealth builders must put themselves first

Financial planning is becoming a more popular career option. This includes everything, from encouraging mentorships on college campuses to providing diversity scholarships for FPA events to be attended. It is both important for professionals and for consumers.

GI: What is the best way to measure success?


FPA: Is that what the FPA is doing?

FPA has a Diversity and Inclusion Committee that collaborates closely with its board and looks for ways to support the diverse members.

What we refer to as “knowledge circles” [for example]. These are seven distinct community-based circles [for]Our membership includes women from finance and Asian Americans as well as Pacific Islanders. We’ve seen 22% in our communities over the course of the last year. This is one of the ways we reach out to our members, and encourage more people to join FPA.

We’ve been working with our conference task forces to feature D&I thought leaders [and]Our events host a variety of events in celebration of diverse members.

Dennis Moore

President of the Financial Planning Association

How do they work?

DM: Every one of them may use a slightly different cadence, but [generally have]Monthly meetings [Participants]FPA members will have the opportunity to participate in discussions, listen to experts and build connections.

We’re [also]Develop a plan to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion training both for staff and board members. The goal of this training is to be extended to FPA volunteers. We’ve been working with our conference task forces to feature D&I thought leaders [and]We host various events that celebrate diversity in our membership.

The Journal of Financial Planning is also available. With our latest issue coming out this fall, we will have entire issues that are dedicated to diversity.

GI: Is diversity a problem for the profession?

DM: It could be a lack of knowledge about this important career. There is still much to learn about financial planning. Whether they’re starting out in college in a financial planning program somewhere or are career changers — whatever it may be — I think we’ve got to get better about showing that opportunity.

GI: What happens if you don’t want to go to college? You may find it even more difficult to recognize this option as an option.

DM: Right.

GI: So it kind of starts in high school — which is a challenging proposition.

DM It is possible to learn financial literacy in high school. Many people don’t see it as a way to go, or even what it means. I hope they see it at college. They don’t always see it in college.

GI: What other major challenges do you think the industry faces?

DM. We are more in demand than we can supply financial planners. So that is where I see it: We have to make people aware about financial planning and get them in the profession to satisfy the needs of consumers.

GI: What have the pandemic-related disruptions had an impact on advisors’ and client business?

DM. I believe it is changing the way that planners work. It’s becoming easier to live and work remotely, with hybrid arrangements, which has opened up new opportunities. That dynamic I believe will continue. It’s impossible to replace the experience of being there in person, but we will see more people return.

GI: Advisors and planners do more work digitally. There are likely to be both opportunities and problems. For example, while you can reach more clients, other advisors may be able reach your geographical market.

DM However, it must tie back to service and value. [planners] provide.