A variety of initiatives have increased diversity in the advisor industry, but progress has been slow, according to new research from the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards.

The challenges have been especially tough for the advisor industry, “which has a legacy of dominance by white males and an exclusion of women and people of color, in both executive and staff positions,” the board said in a new report.

Despite the growing evidence that more diversified teams offer measurable financial benefits, “everyone is still struggling to move the needle,” said Marilyn Mohrman-Gillis, executive director of the board’s Center for Financial Planning, in an interview with Financial Advisor.

“Even large firms that have large [diversity and inclusion] departments and initiatives are still struggling with increasing their metrics,” she said.

Mohrman-Gillis led the CFP Board’s Diversity Summit in Washington, D.C., last week.

CFP Board data continues to confirm that women and people of color are severely underrepresented in the financial planning profession.

While women represent 52% of the U.S. population, just 33% of all financial advisors and only 23.2% of all CFP certificate holders are women, the board said.

Hispanics and Latinos make up 16% of the population, but just 7% of advisors and 1.9% of CFPs.

African-Americans account for 13% of the population, 8% of advisors and only 1.5% of all CFP certificate holders, the CFP Board found.

Some 4,300 women have become advisors since 2016, during a time when the industry has grown by 53% overall. “We’ve also welcomed many new men to the profession,” Mohrman-Gillis said. “While the raw percentage of women entering the profession has gone up, it’s been hard to increase the percentage of women to men.”

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