What is Failing Us? An Examination of Diversity Initiatives in Financial Planning
Posted: 8 Apr 2021
Date Written: April 8, 2021
This paper examines the lack of diversity in the financial planning profession by expanding the variable focus to include both the household side (i.e., consumer demand for financial advice) and the aspiring and existing financial planner professional side (i.e., the supply of financial advice). This study uses data from 13,507 households from the 2004 to 2016 waves of Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF) and data from 37,665 students enrolled at the College for Financial Planning for 2005 to 2018. We found that any amount of racial bias against non‐White financial planners could substantially reduce their market. Previous studies have focused almost exclusively on macro‐demographic comparisons. Therefore, reliable information on the extent of racial bias and satisfaction among racially discordant financial planner‐client relationships is not available. Black and Latinx households lag White and other households to attain high school diplomas and undergraduate degrees, partially explaining the lack of a diverse pipeline into the profession. We argue that there continues to be a need to eliminate survivorship bias when attempting to understand the realities faced by non‐White financial planning professionals by surveying those who were not successful in becoming financial planners.
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