Advancing Diversity in Premier Financial Certifications: IWI's Scholarship Success

Posted by Allison Edmondson, Director of Communications

Oct 23, 2020 3:00:00 PM

Denver, CO — October 23, 2020  — The Investments & Wealth Institute announced that its Certification Scholarship Fund, launched January 1, 2020, awarded over $123,000 to 149 applicants and tripled the number of African American and Latino certification candidates who applied for CIMA®, CPWA®, or RMA® certification in 2020.

Building upon the success of the scholarship fund, and its Women in Wealth Initiative launched in 2018, the Institute unveiled its plans to develop the THRIVESM Center for Diversity & Inclusion (THRIVE), which will unify all of the Institute’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts under a new knowledge center, with a Council of Ambassadors. The objective of the new knowledge center, the scholarship program, and the educational programs tied to the Center, is to advance the profession by helping financial advisors from underrepresented communities thrive, thereby fostering a more sustainable workforce within the financial advisory profession.

“We started this important work at the Institute with our Women in Wealth program and expanded at the beginning of 2020 with our Scholarship Fund, which has awarded 149 scholarships to date. The success of these programs indicates a need and desire within the industry to tackle these gaps through meaningful conversation and change,” said Sean R. Walters, CAE®, Chief Executive Officer of Investments & Wealth Institute. “We have spent the last few months having thoughtful conversations and listening to our members and the industry at large. The THRIVE program has grown out of those conversations and this new initiative further widens the charter of our Scholarship Fund to include educational programs, events, a community forum, and a united coalition within the industry.”

The new THRIVE Center will combine several existing programs, and create new programs to advance the Institute’s mission to deliver the premier investment consulting and wealth management credentials and world class education, in order to encourage the practice of high standards.

“Since 1985, the Institute has been a driving force for competency and ethics within the financial advisor profession,” said Walters.

  • Existing DEI programs include the Institute’s Impartiality Policy, which was established in 2009 guaranteeing that “decisions at all phases of certification are made without bias or prejudice,” and that “Institute policies, procedures, and actions are applied evenly to all persons.”

  • The Women in Wealth education series was launched in 2018 to promote and celebrate gender diversity in the financial advice profession and offer education programs and networking for women professionals. To date that program series has hosted more than 1,000 registrants for frank discussions including expanding representation at the c-suite level, balancing a career and a crisis, and fostering community within the industry.

  • New program offerings will include an education series, Diversity Elevates, which will offer the advisor community educational programs and guidance from the forward-looking perspective that racial and ethnic diversity is imperative to advancing the financial advice profession.

  • Coming in early 2021, a new Knowledge Center Platform will offer professionals interested in the topic of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion educational resources and an ongoing forum for advisors to learn from each other, to help the advisor community continually enhance their understanding of the barriers of entry that exist so advisors can thrive and meet the expectations of a diverse marketplace.

A new Council of Ambassadors, led by veteran practitioners and former Institute Board Chairs Garry Bridgemen, CIMA®, and Kevin Sanchez, CIMA®, CPWA®, CFP®, will advise Institute staff and board members on matters related to diversity, equity & inclusion, guide the creation and development of meaningful programming, and monitor the objectives of the Center and the Scholarship Fund. Other Council participants include Board Vice-Chair Dorothy Bossung, CIMA®, CPWA®, RMA®, CFP®, Lowery Asset Consulting, Elizabeth Andersen, CIMA®, President and CEO of ProEquities, Christine Gaze, CIMA®, President of Purpose Consulting, Noel Brown, CIMA®, CPWA®, Morgan Stanley, Desiree Maldonado, CIMA®, CPWA®, Banco Popular, and Kelly Walsh, CIMA®, Coast Capital Management (Canada).

Thoughtful change does not happen overnight; the Institute is committed to its mission and will continue to listen to our members and the conversations taking place as we roll out and expand these new initiatives.


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