The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the number of personal financial advisor jobs will grow three times as fast than other professions through 2022, however, an overall lack of diversity in the profession still remains an issue.

Through its NextGen InitiativeTD Ameritrade Institutional will be working to bring younger talent and greater diversity to the registered investment advisor (RIA) industry. Including its annual scholarships, grants and a long-term sponsorship agreement with Texas A&M University, TD Ameritrade Institutional plans to invest $2 million toward helping attract next generation talent and raising awareness of the RIA industry on campuses across the country.

Now in its third year, the TD Ameritrade Institutional NextGen Financial Planning Scholarship & Grant Program for 2015 has been expanded to offer a total of 12 scholarships of $5,000 each to undergraduate students pursuing financial planning degrees.

Two new scholarships will recognize deserving scholars from demographic groups that are under-represented in the profession, including blacks, Hispanics, American Indians, Alaska and Hawaiian natives, other Pacific islanders, Asians and women. Though students from all backgrounds have always been encouraged to apply, the new scholarships are designed to ensure the NextGen program’s winners represent a broader spectrum of talent.

“RIAs as a group are aging: roughly half are 55 years or older, and many of them will be looking to retire over the next decade,” stated Tom Nally, president, TD Ameritrade Institutional. “Add that with the fact that fewer than 8 percent of advisors are under 35, and it’s clear our industry needs more young professionals to join us and help families better manage their finances."

The financial advisory industry is primarily white and male. Women comprise just 12 percent of all financial advisors and 10 percent of RIAs, according to Cerulli Associates. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that women represent 36 percent of personal financial advisors, compared with 47 percent of all employed Americans 16 and older. Similarly, African-Americans represent just 8 percent of all financial services employees, versus 11.4 percent across all industries, according to the BLS.

“Our country is growing increasingly diverse and we, as an industry, should take measures to better reflect the communities we serve,” said Kate Healy, managing director of marketing at TD Ameritrade Institutional, in a statement. “With these new scholarships, we want to reach more students from groups that have been historically underrepresented in the financial planning profession.”

TD Ameritrade Institutional will again provide two grants to universities and colleges – $50,000 for an established program and $25,000 for an emerging program – with the goal of increasing the number of graduates with bachelor’s degrees in financial planning emerging from U.S. schools. In addition to expanding their offerings, past winners have introduced innovative programs and approaches to help ensure their graduates are well prepared for the workplace.

Scholarship and university grant applications will be accepted April 13 through June 1. Applicants:

  • Should be a current college freshman, sophomore or junior with a satisfactory academic standing
  • Must be pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Financial Planning at an accredited 4-year college or university
  • Members of under-represented demographic groups may choose to apply instead for one of the two NextGen Diversity Scholarships.

Grant applicants should be accredited colleges or universities in the United States that either offer a Bachelor's degree program in Financial Planning, or plan to offer a Bachelor’s degree program in Financial Planning in the next academic year.
To learn more about the program, or to submit an application, visit the TD Ameritrade Institutional NextGen Scholarship & Grant website at here.