The NAIFA Foundation for Financial Security, created by the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA), aims to grow the number of ethical financial services professionals to better serve American households and small businesses. By increasing the pool of practicing advisors, the Foundation will advance financial literacy and promote financial security among all Americans with an emphasis on traditionally underserved and underrepresented populations.
The most recent National Financial Capability Study by FINRA found that 66% of American adults cannot pass a basic financial literacy quiz. More than 40% lack retirement accounts and less than half have emergency savings. Yet, other research shows that fewer than 30% have financial plans in place and fewer than 20% use the continuing services of financial professionals. Qualified and ethical financial professionals, available and working with consumers in diverse communities, can help to close these gaps.
The financial services industry is faced with an aging population of advisors, many of whom are approaching retirement, and the looming shortage of qualified financial professionals means that the number of Americans without financial plans in place will increase. This shortage is particularly acute in historically underserved communities. By instituting programs to increase and diversify the ranks of financial professionals, the Foundation seeks to improve financial understanding and outcomes for all Americans.
“NAIFA members provide crucial products, services, and advice to families and businesses in communities across the United States. We understand better than anyone the value financial professionals bring to Americans,” said NAIFA President Lawrence Holzberg, LUTCF, LACP. “The NAIFA Foundation for Financial Security was created to ensure consumers have access to qualified, ethical financial advisors and that those professionals better reflect the diverse communities they serve. The Foundation will also put the resources of NAIFA and the network of NAIFA members to work for these prospective new advisors to launch them into successful careers helping all Americans achieve financial security.”
Activities of the Foundation are to be funded by contributions from charitable grant-making organizations, members, and financial services companies. The Foundation’s initial programs will create scholarship programs designed to bring diverse candidates into the profession.
NAIFA Foundation Scholarship Programs
The NAIFA Foundation for Financial Security is launching a program to promote and support the recruitment of diverse advisors to the industry. By bringing a more diverse advisor force to the financial services industry, the NAIFA Foundation for Financial Security strives to promote an environment of inclusivity that will better serve the broad spectrum of American society and promote financial security for all.
The Foundation will award Diversity Scholarships to current or recently graduated college students who are members of under-represented populations in the industry. The Diversity Scholarship is a two-year program that will provide support and training to help launch the careers of these prospective advisors. Over the period of two years, scholarship recipients will receive:
- One year of complimentary NAIFA Student membership.
- One year of complimentary NAIFA Producer membership.
- Complimentary pre-licensing training from WebCE – Exam Prep Plus Complete Package to prepare for the state licensing exam of the state of the candidate’s choosing.
- Complimentary tuition for LUTCF designation courses.
- Complimentary securities exam prep training from WebCE – Choice of Series 6, 63, 65, 7, or Combination Package.
- Complimentary tuition for NAIFA’s Leadership in Life (LILI) leadership development program.
- Professional support and mentoring from NAIFA members.
- Complimentary registration, hotel accommodations, and travel stipend to participate in NAIFA’s Congressional Conference in Washington, D.C. , the largest association legislative fly-in in the insurance and financial services industry.
Candidates for the NAIFA Diversity Scholarship Program should be current students at accredited institutions of higher learning with anticipated graduation dates no later than Spring 2023. Recent graduates from 2021 or 2022 are also eligible. Complete applicant criteria are available on the Foundation website.
A second scholarship program is in development and will assist honorably discharged U.S. military veterans transitioning out of the armed forces to prepare for careers in the insurance and financial services industry. This scholarship is likely to offer similar benefits to those of the diversity scholarship. The Foundation will provide information about the veterans’ scholarship program when it becomes available.