Branham, Named FPA President-Elect, Sees Members Charting New Direction

Organizational review, fiduciary, next generational issues will drive organization's advocacy, he tells AdvisorOne

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The Financial Planning Association announced Wednesday that Michael Branham, CFP, a financial planner at Cornerstone Wealth Advisors, based in Edina, Minn., had been elected 2012 FPA president-elect, with his term beginning in 2013.

Michael BranhamBranham (left) has served on FPA’s Board of Directors since 2009 and has chaired its Professional Issues and Financial Integration committees. 

In an exclusive interview with AdvisorOne, Branham was asked about the direction the organization will take during his tenure.

“It’s not an agenda-driven organization year-to-year, only because the executive leadership then loses its continuity,” Branham said. “However, having said that, there are issues that I’m passionate about that we will certainly address.”

He mentioned the organizational review that FPA is currently undergoing, which he says is meant to “ensure the organization’s values are in line with, and reflect, the values of our members.” The results of the review will play heavily into his agenda during his term.

“We are also part of a lot of big discussions industrywide,” Branham said. “There’s the fiduciary issue and uniform standard of care. There is also the question of the regulation of advisors. Then there are more tactical issues, such as the question of retirement income for our clients. These are all very important issues, and I’m very excited to have our members’ voice present in addressing them.”

The last issue he mentioned was that of “the younger generation of advisors.”

"We have smart, eager young people that want to become financial planners. As a profession, we must find career paths they can follow to help them and keep them engaged. We also have to find ways that the older, more seasoned generation can communicate what we call the 'impact generation,' and how they can in-turn communicate the so-called 'next generation.' They can learn from each other, and we have to help facilitate those conversations."

When asked about what he sees as his single greatest challenge as FPA’s president, Branham says, “Because I don’t know what will happen between then and [2013] and the issues that will come up, the challenge for the executive board and me is to ensure that our members have a voice in what’s going on with regulation. It’s not that we don’t believe regulation has a role with financial planners; rather, it’s that we don’t agree with regulators as to what the role should be.”

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