Like most of you, I suspect, I’ve been following the unavoidable hoopla surrounding the FPA’s current excursion to China. In the interest of full disclosure, I should probably mention that over the years, we’ve seen many such expeditions—although perhaps none so highly touted—by dignitaries from various financial planning organizations, with, to my skeptical eye, precious little to show for them.
The CFP Board is usually behind such boondoggles, in its capacity as the driving force behind the “international” Financial Planning Standards Board, and I can remember many such trips, to Europe, South Africa and, of course, Japan. The only benefits that I’ve seen are for American financial planners to be treated with far greater respect and deference than they are afforded at home.
I know, this time it might be different. In fact, it already is: This financial planning “good will” trip is being wrapped in all the frothy hype of global investing, with China and its “second-largest economy” now the Golden Dragon of international opportunity. Don’t get me wrong; I realize there are expanding opportunities abroad as the Global Economy emerges. I’m just skeptical that frothy hype is going to help us uncover any of them. The last time I checked, there are over 100,000 CFAs who job it is to identify where those global opportunities might lie: I’m not sure what 40 American financial planners talking en masse to cadres of Chinese financial planners will add to their research.