IWI's 2021 Impact Report: Advancing DE&I in Financial Services

Posted by Allison Edmondson, Director of Communications

Apr 4, 2022 3:00:00 PM

Denver, CO —  April 04, 2022  — Investments & Wealth Institute (the Institute), the premier professional association, education provider and standards body for financial advisors, released their 2021 Impact Report focused on the organization’s initiatives to support Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) in the financial services industry.
The Institute saw a 21% growth in the number of CIMA®, CPWA® and RMA® applicants in 2021 (over the previous year). Included in the growth, and supported by the Institute’s DE&I initiatives, is an 18% growth in women applicants; a 43% increase in Latinx applicants; and a 262% increase in the number of African American/Black applicants.   
“We started this important work in 2019 with our Women in Wealth program and continued it with our successful THRIVE initiatives launched in January 2020,” said Dorothy Bossung, CIMA®, CPWA®, RMA®, CFP®, chairperson of the Investments & Wealth Institute Board of Directors. “Since the inception of our Scholarship Fund in 2020, more than 400 applicants have received tuition assistance, and the percentage of female candidates has grown 23%, while the percentage of candidates of color has increased by 125%.”
Through the Investments & Wealth Institute Scholarship Fund, the Institute has awarded more than $344,840 to applicants. In 2021, Women in Wealth events hosted more than 400 women for frank discussions including expanding representation at the C-suite level, balancing a career and a crisis, blazing trails in a male-dominated industry and fostering community within the industry. In total, the Institute’s five THRIVE educational programs held in 2021 hosted 961 attendees. The success of these programs indicates a need, and the desire within the industry, to tackle these gaps through meaningful conversation and change.
While the industry is aware of the underrepresentation of diverse populations and has developed programs to address it, newcomers are often underserved even after entering the profession. “As an organization, the Institute serves advanced professionals thus we are well-positioned to ensure that underserved individuals already in the industry have opportunities to increase their knowledge, enhance their credentials and be better prepared for successful careers serving an increasingly diverse audience,” said Sean R. Walters, CAE®, chief executive officer of the Institute.
Succeeding as an advisor today means demonstrating value — from the meaningful guidance they provide to the outcomes their clients achieve. The Institute’s professional designations and educational programs provide a gateway for more successful outcomes. The Institute brings together industry disruptors and Ivy League-academics to ensure advisors have the latest insights and actionable strategies to better serve the most sophisticated investment and wealth management clients. Through its events, continuing education courses and acclaimed certifications — Certified Investment Management Analyst® (CIMA®), Certified Private Wealth Advisor® (CPWA®) and Retirement Management Advisor® (RMA®) — the Institute delivers rigorous, highly-practical education to more than 30,000 advisory professionals in 40 countries.
In 2021, scholarship recipients included Kristoffer N. Fu, CPWA®, CFP®, and Chi Guerrero, CFP®, RMA®, CIMA®, both of whom are profiled in the 2021 Impact Report:
Kristoffer Fu, who began his career at a large bank, founded Maven Bridge Capital as a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) based in Brea, California just a few months before embarking on the CPWA® certification. “As a newly minted entrepreneur, I knew that I wanted to pursue additional professional education, but I no longer had the resources of a large firm to help me. Having the opportunity to receive financial assistance from the Investments & Wealth Institute was huge,” said Fu.
Upon completing the CPWA® program, Fu sent an announcement to his existing clients and received a lot of positive feedback and appreciation for his dedication to continuously improving his skills. “My investment in my education through the Institute has allowed me to be better positioned to successfully grow and expand my business. More importantly, I have grown through the experience, and I feel more confident in my abilities to help my clients on a deeper level than before.”
Chi Guerrero* is a paraplanner at HeimLantz, a full-service accounting and financial advisory firm. She believes financial literacy is a fundamental skill everyone needs. “I want to educate and guide my clients in every aspect of their financial decisions to help them achieve their financial goals,” said Guerrero.
A believer that successful investing is goal-focused and planning-driven, Guerrero pursued a CIMA® certification as a way to advance her career and give her confidence in serving her clients. “I gained foundational knowledge through the CFP® program. Pursuing my CIMA® certification only made sense to deepen my knowledge in investments to better serve my clients.”
To download the Institute’s 2021 Impact Report, click here.

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