How mid-career women could reshape the advisory industry

Five top firms will launch tailored internships this fall under a CFP Board pilot program aimed at hiring former professionals from the financial services and other fields.

It’s the latest effort to improve what can only be called dismal statistics.

The proportion of women CFPs has remained stagnant at 23% for a decade and only 16% of advisers are women, notes Marilyn Mohrman-Gillis, executive director of the CFP Board’s Center for Financial Planning.

“Firms essentially rob from each other and were not expanding the pool,” Mohrman-Gillis says. “We’re not going to expand that number if we just keep shifting mid-level women around from one firm to another and another.”

The CFP Board and re-entry firm iRelaunch, which has led similar programs at large investment firms and in the science and technology space, unveiled the partnership earlier this month. While open to prospective advisers of any gender, the paid program marks a new approach to boosting diversity.

Organizers hope to give firms another means of hiring women besides poaching, Mohrman-Gillis says.

Participating firms include Edelman Financial Services, United Capital, Fairport Asset Management, Yeske Buie and Fidelity Investments. TD Ameritrade Institutional will sponsor the group at Edelman and United, while the Schwab Foundation will sponsor Fairport and Yeske Buie’s classes.

Women who quit their jobs to raise children make great candidates for so-called re-entry internships, according to Carol Fishman Cohen, CEO of iRelaunch. She cites Bureau of Labor Statistics figures showing 2.6 million mothers nationwide between 25 and 54 years old with bachelor’s degrees or higher but no job.

“There’s a specific scenario of female professionals that have outstanding education and talent, and they intentionally decided to quit working to become moms,” says Tim Kober, principal of Cedar Financial Advisors in Beaverton, Oregon, and chairman of…

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