The new chairman of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors is proud of his heritage as encouraging the fee-only group to pay more attention to bigger firms within the organization through its large firms initiative, but as a member of the Coalition for Financial Planning, he also wants to ensure that financial planners of any size are treated as professionals. Bill Baldwin, president of Pillar Financial Advisors in Waltham, Massachusetts, succeeded Diahann Lassus as chair on September 1, but said she will continue in her leadership role on the Coalition--which includes the CFP Board and the Financial Planning Association--through the end of the year, when the leadership of the other two organizations turns over. Afterward, Lassus will return to an active role on the industry issues committee of NAPFA, he said in an interview.
Noting that NAPFA had always done a good job of fostering smaller advisors and those new to the profession through its conferences and educational efforts like the Basic Training program and NAPFA University, Baldwin helped promote the group's large firms initiative, which provides support for more established, sophisticated firms. Baldwin would like to build a Web-based educational site to help manage the educational needs of advisory firms' employees, and not just NAPFA members, saying "education is a significant budget item, and how they get it, and where, is a big issue."
As for the fiduciary debate, Baldwin said that "NAPFA will continue to operate with all its members subscribing to our fiduciary oath; fiduciary for us is a given."
The Coalition, says Baldwin, would like to see financial planning adopted as a profession, "to rise to a professional status; and if someone does two or more of the traditional elements of financial planning--investment management or tax planning or retirement planning, or holds themselves out as a financial planner, then the fiduciary standard should apply."