As he assumes his new role as 2007 President of the Financial Planning Association, Nick Nicolette already has clear ideas about what the agenda for his term will be. His firm, Sterling Wealth Management, is based in Sparta, New Jersey, but Nicolette was at FPA headquarters in Denver, his second home for the next 12 months, when he sat down for a phone conversation with Managing Editor Bob Keane in mid-December.
What does someone like you get out of participating in FPA?
In the ’90s I began service in the local chapter and I found that work personally and professionally rewarding. The more I did the more I seemed to learn. The more I gave, the more I got back. That ultimately led to me serving on the national board, which was just tremendously rewarding and challenging. It was something that seemed to feed my personal passions about really moving our profession forward and more importantly moving forward the benefits of financial planning, not only for our clients, but for everyone who needs it. It’s really been a passion and love.
How does the time that you devote to FPA affect your practice?
It is definitely a challenge, but it has not had a negative impact on our practice. One of the reasons for that is that I am blessed with partners who believe in the same things I do. All three of the principals of the firm have at one time served as president of the New Jersey chapter.
It’s got to be more demanding to head up a national organization.
It is, but before I accepted the president’s position, I sat down with my family and my partners to talk about the potential impact. It’s like having another full time job. But my family was supportive and my partners were as well. We determined that this presented a tremendous opportunity, both for myself and for our firm and that it could be done without any negative repercussions for our clients.
What do you see as the major challenges facing the FPA in the next 12 months?
I think the challenge is to continue to build the financial planning profession. We are committed not only to growing and serving the profession but also to helping to serve the public better. We’re committed to communications with the vast numbers of people out there who really can use financial planning help. We’ll also be revisiting our relationships with the various chapters of the FPA around the country.
Another challenge will be outreach to the many different firms out there who are building the financial planning profession within their firms. Some of them are independent firms and some of them are affiliated with B/Ds. I think there’s a great challenge in front of us to build strong lines of commitment and communications. We’ve got to try and put financial planning in perspective and on the map.
Then of course, there’s “the lawsuit.” We don’t know how that’s going to be resolved or where we’re going to end up with it, but we have to stay consistent in our message.
We’re depending on communications and connections.