New Research Confirms Value of CFP® Certification to Female Advisors

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An independent study from Aite Group underscores the strengths and distinctive characteristics female CFP® professionals bring to wealth management practices and clients. The new study, titled “Building a Diverse Practice: The Value of CFP® Certification to Female Advisors,” also concludes there is an urgent need for firms to recruit more client-facing female advisors who are CFP® professionals. CFP Board commissioned the study.

For the study, Aite Group researched distinguishing characteristics of female CFP® professionals and compared them to female advisors without CFP® certification. The research also analyzed advisor, practice, and service level characteristics, including differences in the depth and scope of financial planning services offered.

Key findings of the study include:

  • Female CFP® professionals are particularly invested in the financial planning process. They provide written and comprehensive financial plans to more of their clients compared to male CFP® professionals and other female financial advisors. They are also more likely to give retirement and estate planning advice compared to male CFP® professionals.
  • Female CFP® professionals’ focus on financial planning does not detract from their investment management responsibilities. Female CFP® professionals are also as likely as male CFP® professionals to derive a majority of practice revenue from assets under management (AUM) and financial planning service fees.
  • Female CFP® professionals present themselves as more confident than male CFP® professionals with their ability to build client trust and their approach to financial planning. They are also more satisfied with their careers than other female advisors.
  • CFP® certification has played a role in helping female advisors grow into confident advisors. Female CFP® professionals are more likely to recommend CFP® certification to colleagues than are male CFP® professionals (64% of females strongly recommend versus 52% for males).
  • Female CFP® professionals are also more satisfied with their careers compared to other female financial advisors. Fifty-three percent indicate strong satisfaction with their careers, while 35% of other female financial advisors and 42% of male CFP® professionals report the same.

“These findings make a compelling business case for increasing the number of women in the financial planning profession,” said CFP Board CEO Kevin R. Keller, CAE. “The study confirms that financial planning is a rewarding career opportunity, and that CFP® certification is a must-have designation for women.”

Methodology and Data Sources

Aite Group’s research follows a version of the survey of 400 U.S. financial advisors fielded in Q3 2019 as well as survey data from CFP Board to increase the sample size of female CFP® professionals.

The survey included 80 female CFP® professionals and 54 female advisors without CFP® certification. The analysis also compares the female CFP® professionals to 186 male CFP® professionals.

A copy of the report can be accessed here.