The FPA/People to People trip to China is essentially over now (see complete coverage on AdvisorOne of FPA in China). All that is left is the long journey home and I have a few reflections to share.
I could have come to China on my own or with any number of tour groups but I chose to come here with the FPA-sponsored People to People trip. The distinguishing feature of a PTP trip is the ability to meet with peers in one’s chosen field. See a fascinating far-away land and meet financial planners from there, too? That was far too enticing for me to pass up.
Every expectation I had was exceeded. I could write for days about the tourism elements alone but by far the dominant feeling I have today is simply one of gratitude. I am thankful that the FPA chooses to engage our peers around the world in a constructive dialogue about improving professionalism in financial planning. I am grateful that FPA develops leaders like Richard Salmen without whose help this trip would not have succeeded. FPA’s role in this trip was to help promote and build awareness of the trip and let us utilize the talents of Laura Brook, FPA’s Director of International Relations, to help coordinate the professional meetings with our Chinese counterparts.
Organization leaders can have all the talks they want but it is the actions of practitioners in real-world client interactions that will determine if financial planning is ever recognized as the distinct professional endeavor many of us think that it is. I am thankful to our delegates for taking the time and incurring the expense to take this trip. All funding of the trip came entirely from the 44 financial planners and the 15 guests that found the mix of tourism and professional discourse irresistible.
A sometimes annoying effect of free-speech is that even people who do not know what they are talking about can share their ignorance with anyone that will listen. Contrary to some badly misinformed commentators, FPA did not pay for or otherwise send us over here. We came because of our own interest in China’s history, current culture and to talk shop with financial planning professionals. Any sharing of what we learned is an entirely volunteer activity on the part of our delegates. I am thankful that the people you have seen submit dispatches to Advisor One took time during their trip to share some thoughts.
Every day I see the media report a variety of opinions about what is happening in China and what China’s role in the global economy is and may be. I am thankful to AdvisorOne for wanting to give its readers a different perspective on China:one that involves what typical Chinese citizens can now do with their newly acquired assets.