Symposium aims to boost diversity among financial planners


To address the lack of diversity in the financial planning industry, The University of Akron (UA) will host its second annual “Financial Planning Women & Diversity Symposium – 2018” on Thursday, April 26, on campus at the Quaker Station Ballroom, 130 E. Mill St.

“There’s a critical need to increase diversity in the financial planning profession,” said Dr. Barry Mulholland, director of the Financial Planning Program in the College of Business Administration. “Women comprise only 16 percent of all financial advisors and 23 percent of certified financial planners. Plus, more than 80 percent of the advisor population is white. These percentages certainly are not representative of the overall population. Members of the African American, Hispanic and LGBTQ communities are also underrepresented in the advisor ranks.”

The symposium will help identify, create and disseminate best practices for recruiting a diverse population of college-bound students and career changers into the financial planning profession and the related financial services industry, with an initial focus on Northeast Ohio. In addition, the symposium will provide educators and community leaders with an opportunity to network with area financial advisors and allied professionals who can be a vital resource for financial literacy efforts.

Efforts to diversify

“Initiatives are under way in the financial services industry to start to address these issues, with much of the initial work focused on women in financial planning, the group most underrepresented among financial planners,” Mulholland added.

According to a 2018 report from InvestmentNews, women comprise about 15.7 percent of financial advisors versus 51.5 percent of the U.S. population, according to estimates from the 2010 census.

The symposium will target two groups important to improving overall diversity in the financial planning industry — career influencers, those who advise and encourage students and career changers on their career choices; and financial advisors, those who populate the various roles within the financial planning profession and the related financial services. Students majoring in financial planning and education are also invited. As an added benefit, educators can receive professional development hours for attending. More information is available online at the symposium website.

Suzanne Siracuse, a vice president at Crain Communications and publisher of InvestmentNews for the last 12 years and part of its original launch team in 1997, will be the keynote speaker. She will discuss how diversity will be the key to future success.

Registration begins at 7:30 a.m., with the event scheduled from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The symposium is underwritten by Charles Schwab Investment Management.

The Financial Planning Program offered by UA's College of Business Administration has perennially been included in Financial Planning Magazine’s list of the top programs in the country.


Media contact: Alex Knisely, 330-972-7429 or

Dr. Barry Mulholland

Dr. Barry Mulholland

Suzanne Siracuse

Suzanne Siracuse