Millard J. Grauer, CLU, ChFC
Highland Park, Ill.
The Society of Financial Service Professionals has been the kingpin of professionalism and ethics in the life insurance profession. Its close relationship with the American College has enabled the thousands of American College graduates to continue their professional education throughout each members career.
The Society provides teleconferences, specialty sections, seminars and the Financial Services Professional Journal resulting in its members being on the leading edge for excellent counsel to each members clients.
I have felt as a member of the Society of Financial Service Professionals that I receive the respect of my clients and peers as would a lawyer who is a member of his or her bar association or a CPA belonging to his or her professional association.
The exchange of information with top practitioners in a professional association greatly enhances your value to your clients and in sales, substantially increases your income. Membership in the Society is a must for those who want to be leaders in the financial services world.
Clark B. McCleary, CLU, ChFC
The Society is the only organization in the insurance-based financial services industry that requires earned and recognized credentials as a condition of membership.
Since one of the qualifications of being deemed a professional is the mastery of a body of formal knowledge as demonstrated by earning designations and/or degrees, the very existence of the Society for 75 years has provided strong, positive encouragement to tens of thousands of individuals in our industry to take logical steps toward professionalism in order to be eligible to become a member of the Society.
As a result, a large number of professionals in our industry are better educated and more inclined toward high ethical conduct because the Society exists.
On a personal note, I was fortunate to serve the Society on its board, then its executive committee and finally as its president in 1999-2000. The relationships I enjoyed and the friendships I developed with those at the top of our profession will be treasured always. Those experiences made me a better adviser to my clients and, I believe, a better person.
The Society has helped keep the industry aware of the need for professional education and the value of top-quality of CE. It has helped to raise the bar and keep high standards among industry professionals.
Personally, the Society has been my professional home since I earned my designations. The CE has given me confidence to build and expand my practice.
I have had wonderful collaborative experiences with peersand what a classy group of peers! It has helped to set my ethical expectations about how a practice should be run.
The Society is responsible for the fact that I feel and act like a professional.
Beverly Brooks Miller, CLU, AEP
For 75 years, the Society has provided a true professional home for those credentialed insurance practitioners desirous of ongoing, advanced education and a commitment to ethics.
Throughout all of its 75 years, the Society has remained true to two core values: professional development through continuing education and commitment to ethics.
So it was in the 1990s, as the insurance and financial services industry began to experience fast and sometimes furious change. Always equal to the challenge, the Society repositioned itself within the industry to meet the evolving needs of this “new” and broader financial services industry by becoming The Society of Financial Service Professionals.
Still true to the core values that had sustained and provided a level of professional excellence for our credentialed (CLU, ChFC) members of the past, the Society took decisive steps to include additional credentialed financial service professionals, the CFP, CPA and JD.
This inclusiveness within our midst provided a professional home for these financial service professionals, along with the opportunity to benefit from the Societys core values and the team approach to serving our clients. It also enabled our existing members to connect with professionals outside their own practice specialties and disciplines, helping them to better understand the benefits of the team approach.
Throughout its 75-year history, the Society has provided what the industry has neededan environment in which our members can grow professionally and ethically as they serve their clients.
The Societys vision of inclusiveness for all credentialed members of the business and estate planning team will serve the industry in a broader, more effective way in the future and reinforces competent and ethical service to our clients.
For me personally, to earn and receive the CLU designation was certainly a proud and important milestone in my career, but my educational development could not end there. A credential was only the foundation, a stepping stone for the continued growth that would sustain me as a professional.
To work with the other Society leaders in reshaping and repositioning this preeminent organization to create a viable future for our members was a capstone for me professionally.
For all the turmoil and uncertainty that accompanies such dramatic change, I count it the signal honor to have taken office as national president at the same time that the new Society name, The Society of Financial Service Professionals, was approved. During my year of leadership, the Society also began a transition to become a more inclusive organization by welcoming a number of additional approved credentials into membership.
The professional and personal friendships I have established, both within the Society and within the industry, have been my greatest benefit. These friendships have challenged, inspired, upheld and mentored me. They have been among the greatest of my life and have had significant impact on me personally and professionally.
Reproduced from National Underwriter Life & Health/Financial Services Edition, October 24, 2003. Copyright 2003 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved.Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.