At FPA Denver, Succession Planning Is Top of Mind

President Tom Potts claims industry at 'inflection point'

Financial Planning Association president Tom Potts opened the organization's annual conference in Denver on Saturday by noting the amount of older planners looking to retire and the new infusion of younger individuals entering the business.

“Elder planners are thinking about their succession plans, the future of the profession and the legacy they’ll leave,” he said. “The younger advisors note that it’s rare that they’ll come out of school and hit the ground running. They need the resources and experience of the greater FPA community to assist them.”

Potts said he still considered the financial planning profession to be an “emerging profession," and that "in order to go from an emerging profession to an established profession, it must demonstrate that it can be handed down from generation to generation.”

This new generation of advisors, combined with the financial downturn, had the industry at what Potts referred to as an inflection point.

“We are poised to reach untold heights,” he said. “But only if we’re smart about choices moving forward.”

He then ticked off some of the association’s recent accomplishments, including “Financial Planning Days,” which provided free financial planning to the general public earlier in the day.

“Above all, we want to further our mission and restore American confidence in the financial planning process,” he said.

He then introduced Tim Kochis, this year’s winner of the P. Kemp Fain Award, who used part of his acceptance speech to plea for advisors to take an active role in assuring the solvency of Medicare and Social Security.

(Kochis most recently contributed to an Investment Advisor feature story on the history and future of the advisor industry. He also was named to the IA 25 list of the most influential people in the profession in 2007.)

“Your view of [these programs] is not ideological, it’s numbers, and we make our living from numbers and figuring out long-term probabilities,” Kochis said in his acceptance speech. “Because of this, we are in a unique position, and have a greater responsibility to tell the truth [about their solvency].”

Kochis merged his firm, Kochis Fitz, with Quintile Wealth Management to form the wealth management firm Aspiriant, which with its recent acquisition of Deloitte Investment Advisors now has $7 billion in AUM.

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