Examine the business card of a random member of the National Association of Personal Financial Planners (NAPFA), and chances are, you will find imprinted upon it no big and bold mention of NAPFA. The fee-only trade group, headquartered in Buffalo Grove, Illinois, would like to remedy this omission, by having members identify themselves as NAPFA-Registered Financial Advisors.
It is hoped the new term will become a “beacon” for consumers when seeking a personal financial advisor, says NAPFA Chairman Steve Kanaly. Towards this end all members are being encouraged to update their marketing and information materials accordingly. “In time, we anticipate that NAPFA-Registered Financial Advisor will become a readily recognized professional affiliation in our industry,” he adds.
That’s not to say that NAPFA is trying to create another professional designation, such as CFP, Kanaly makes clear. Rather, NAPFA-Registered Advisor represented a “better way to describe our membership,” and “really represents what we really are and want to be,” he explains, adding that the moniker also gives NAPFA a bit more “21st Century pizzazz, culture, and class.”
NAPFA will back its designation effort with soon-to-be-launched national, regional, and local advertising campaigns, targeted at consumers and the financial services industry. The ads will differentiate NAPFA members from other advisors calling themselves fee-only, by explaining “who we are–not just in fee-only, objective, comprehensive financial planning but in full disclosure–and why we’re so valuable to the consumer,” explains Kanaly. He hopes as well that the consumer who has become comfortable with the fee-only concept will “understand the difference between those who are fee-only all the time [like NAPFA], and those who are fee-only only part of the time,” he says.