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Home Alone

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One of the things I love about the FPA national conference is that it’s a great place to catch up with old friends I haven’t seen for a while. In Seattle earlier this month, I got to spend some time with a long-time friend who is now on the CFP Board. He will remain anonymous out of fairness: it was late one night at the Sheraton bar, when we’d both had a bit to drink and it’s reasonable to assume our conversation was, or should have been, off the record. But the point of the conversation was not.

Eventually, we got around to what he’s up to at the Board these days, and he excitedly told me how he’s been traveling to various places around the world, talking to financial planning associations in various countries, giving our global cousins the benefit of his wisdom as a CFP Board member (my words, not his). My reaction was perhaps not as tactful as it might have been: for that I’m sorry, but not for my point.

Now I’m not a CFP, but I am a member of the financial public, which is whom the Board purports to represent, so as a “stakeholder” here’s my two cents: As a US financial consumer, I can’t think of anything I care about less than the state of financial planning in South Africa, the EC, or Singapore (to name just a few of the places I don’t care about). Especially since the Board hasn’t exactly tied a bow around financial planning in this country, if you know what I mean: the “scope of the engagement” sleight of hand, overlapping regulation, and lack of clarity about just who and what a professional financial planner is, come to mind as few of today’s loose ends.

If past Board members want to take all-expenses-paid junkets to exotic places as a reward for their years, of service, I say you go, girl. But maybe current Board members should focus on the profession’s current myriad challenges here at home so they’ll have even more wisdom to impart when it’s time to take boondoggles of their own.


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