The CFP Board of Standards Inc. is launching a campaign to determine why the number of female planners has not increased in the past ten years and to see what can be done about it, Board of Directors Chairwoman Nancy A. Kistner announced Wednesday.

For the past decade the number of women earning the CFP designation has remained at 23 percent of the 68,000 members. The initiative will try to increase that percentage as well as increase the number of women entering the profession overall.

“As more and more Americans need help to meet their financial goals, CFP professionals -- and those who aspire to join our ranks -- have an important opportunity to help Americans get back on track and take control of their financial lives,” Kistner says.

“Growing the ranks of female CFP professionals not only makes good business sense, but it builds the heart and soul of this profession, which is all about helping Americans achieve financial security. When more women advisors are helping more women clients, they are also helping spouses, children, families and communities,” she says.

Kistner, who also serves as the managing director and wealth planning solutions market director at U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management, made the announcement during a keynote address at the Women Advisors Forum in New York City.

With fields like education, medicine and law, among others, seeing more gender parity, Kistner says, “It is well past time that we welcome more women in financial services, particularly financial planning.”

The CFP Board has appointed a Women's Initiative Advisory Panel to identify the challenges women face when becoming certified and beginning a career in financial planning, and to recommend solutions to increase the ranks of female financial professionals.  Kistner will serve as chair of the panel, in addition to leading the overall effort.

The panel will meet Friday to discuss the problems and will conduct research over the summer. A fall meeting will be held to draw up recommendations.

Members of the panel include Alexa von Tobel, founder and president of LearnVest; Bob Glovsky, CFP, former chairman of the board of directors of the CFP Board; Karen Schaeffer, CFP, former chairwoman of the board of directors of the CFP Board and former chairwoman of the Financial Planning Standards Board; Kate Healy, managing director, TD Ameritrade Institutional; Mindy Diamond, president and CEO of Diamond Consultants; Mary Beth Franklin, journalist; Lazetta Braxton, CFP, founder of Financial Foundations; Kathleen McQuiggan, president of Catalina Leadership; and Eleanor Blayney, CFP, consumer advocate for the CFP Board.

“While there are certainly challenges to encouraging more women to attain certification and enter the financial planning profession, the opportunities are enormous," says Kevin R. Keller, CFP Board CEO.