(NewsUSA) – Celebrations of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and Black History Month often prompt consideration of the United States’ diversity and the many contributions made by people of different races and ethnicities. These occasions also provide opportunities for communities, organizations and businesses to reflect on their efforts to support and promote diversity.

The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board) recently marked several milestones in its effort to increase the diversity of CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER TM professionals. From 2019 to 2020, the number of Black and Latino CFP® professionals increased by 12.6 percent – nearly five times the growth rate of all CFP® professionals. The number of female CFP® professionals also increased in 2020 and now totals 20,633, reflecting a growth rate of 3.1 percent over 2019.

The total number of CFP® professionals continued to rise as well, reaching an all-time high of more than 88,700. The strong and consistent growth underscores the attractiveness of financial planning careers and how CFP® certification has become the must-have designation for professionals providing financial advice.

One way in which the financial planning profession has increased the diversity of its ranks is through scholarship programs that support aspiring advisors from different backgrounds. The CFP Board Center for Financial Planning, for example, offers six scholarship programs that help to cover the costs of the coursework required to become a CFP® professional. Five of those programs were created specifically to assist individuals from underrepresented populations within the financial planning profession in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, disability or sexual preference.

The Center announced 48 new scholarship awards at the end of 2020, bringing the total number of scholarships granted through its programs to 100, with a value of roughly $500,000. Of the nearly 50 awards granted in 2020, 32 were given to female students, 32 to Black students, 2 to Latino students, and 4 to members of other underrepresented populations in terms of disability or sexual orientation. These scholarships play a critical role in building the profession’s talent pipeline and advancing workforce diversity. To date, 11 scholarship recipients have become CFP® professionals, while 37 others are in the final stages of their CFP® certification process.

To learn more about the Center scholarship programs and other resources for diverse candidates for CFP® certification, visit CFP.net/get-certified/tools-and-resources

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