Even though African Americans make up about 13% of the
United States population, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports they
account for only about 7.6% of financial services practitioners.
In response to this significant representation gap, several
business and community leaders are leading efforts to change the face of the advisory
industry into one more representative of the United States as a whole.
The American College of Financial Services is starting by
launching a scholarship program as part of its “mission to double the number of
African Americans working in the financial services industry within the next
decade.” Anyone who is Black or African American and is in college, recently
graduated, or interested in changing careers is welcomed to apply.
According to the organization, the program would cover 100%
of the cost of earning a professional designation such as certified financial
planner (CFP) or earning a master degree in financial services or financial
American College Assistant Professor and CEO of Ascensus
Wealth Management Jocelyn Wright says the idea for the scholarship grew out of
a story in a local Philadelphia paper about the retirement income gap among
African Americans. She says the story quoted an astronaut who said the percentage
of black people in America’s space program outpaces their representation in the
financial services industry.
That note also struck American College President Robert
Johnson, so the school moved to start the scholarship fund, initially
committing $200,000. Johnson says he plans to expand the program “into the
millions with the help of donors, corporate partners, and supporters.”
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diversity are clear