Financial Designations: Possible Gateways to CFP® Education for Diverse Professionals?
23 Pages Posted: 8 Nov 2021
Date Written: May 13, 2021
This study found a robust case for promoting specific financial designations before attempting the Certified Financial PlannerTM (CFP®) education to improve diversity in the financial planning profession. Financial designations are lower-cost and shorter (taking just 3-4 months to complete) than the CFP® education program, which typically takes at least one year to complete before attempting the CFP® exam. Yet, the study found that higher grades in financial designation courses predicted higher grades in the CFP® education program, with significant and surprising differences in diversity statistics. For example, the College for Financial Planning’s financial designation course Foundations in Financial PlanningSM (FFPN) enrolled far more women than men. Knowing that better grades in designation programs, such as FFPN, can predict better performance in the CFP® education program can provide self-doubting students a high degree of confidence. One weakness of this study was the presence of unobserved "ability" of the students, in that students who performed better would do better in any program regardless. However, the study still has high predictive power, telling us that all students, irrespective of gender or race, who do well while "testing the waters” in a designation program are likely to do well in the CFP® education program. Encouraging women and people of color to pursue a professional designation could lead to more women and people of color entering the CFP® education program and ultimately joining the ranks of CFP® certificants
Keywords: financial planning, financial education, professional designations
JEL Classification: D14, I21
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation