Financial Services is Not a Profession

23 Pages Posted: 4 Jul 2019

See all articles by Steven James Lee

Steven James Lee

The American College of Financial Services; Northcentral University

Date Written: June 13, 2019


This article serves as a meta-analysis to uncover different factors comprising the definition of “profession” from multiple disciplines including medicine, business, and law. Within the literature, four major themes arise that form the basis for what constitutes a profession: knowledge; admission; organization; and ethics. Upon close examination, the broad field of financial services is lacking in every category. Material differences between other disciplines and financial services prevent the latter from being rightly labeled as a profession. However, financial planning, largely through the efforts of the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) Board, may move closer in that direction.

Keywords: financial services, professionalism, financial planning

JEL Classification: H11, L84, N01, M53, Y80

Suggested Citation

Lee, Steven, Financial Services is Not a Profession (June 13, 2019). Available at SSRN: or

Steven Lee (Contact Author)

The American College of Financial Services ( email )

270 S. Bryn Mawr Avenue
Bryn Mawr, PA 19010
United States


Northcentral University ( email )

United States


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