The CFP Board Center for Financial Planning is looking for a few good women.

The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. Center for Financial Planning on Thursday officially announced its WIN-to-WIN mentoring program, which is designed to draw more women into the financial planning profession and end what the board calls the “feminine famine.”

In reality, the board is looking for not just a few good women to be CFP professionals, but as many as they can find. Eleanor Blayney, CFP Board consumer advocate, has an ambitious goal for WIN-to-WIN: to see women constitute 30 percent of CFP professionals in five years. The number has stalled at 23 percent for at least a decade.

“On corporate boards, it has been shown that a group, in this case women, can have a real influence when they make up 30 percent of the members,” Blayney says.

WIN-to-WIN, which is an outgrowth of the CFP Board’s Women’s Initiative, is part of the CFP Board Center for Financial Planning, a research and advocacy arm of the CFP Board designed to build a diverse professional workforce. WIN-to-WIN has been in the pilot stage for two years, but is now being officially launched as a mentoring outreach program, the CFP Board says.

The first phase is to entice more women to enter the field and complete the CFP certification process. Another goal is to achieve more racial and age diversity among CFP designees, Blayney says, and to involve more top-level academics in the program.

“A lot of young people, or people changing careers, are not aware of financial planning as a profession, and there are still a lot of barriers to women entering the profession. A male-dominated profession perpetuates itself,” she adds.

The Center for Financial Panning found that a key way to attract more women to the profession and to have them complete the CFP designation is to have mentors help them through the process. Obtaining a CFP designation requires three years of work experience in the financial industry, the completion of education courses, passing an examination and participating in continuing education.

“The process of obtaining a CFP designation is long and can be scary. WIN-to-WIN partners a new person with a CFP professional who has been there,” Blayney says.

Marguerite M. Cheng, CFP, CEO of Blue Ocean Global Wealth in Louisville, Ken., already has been active as a mentor and in reaching out to the community.

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