A meeting with the FPA executive leadership on Sunday at FPA Experience 2012 featured Lauren Schadle, recently promoted from the advocacy organization’s COO to the top spot of CEO, and her immediate plans.
“My biggest immediate challenge is in getting our message out,” she said. “Even though I come from within the organization, I’m looking at my new role with fresh eyes.”
Schadle noted the 1,900 members in attendance at this year’s conference and the quality of sessions focused on client specialization, practice optimization and retirement planning. She also noted the 157 exhibitors in attendance, ‘many of whom are new, mainly in practice enhancement.”
The singling out of practice management companies was by design, as she announced a focus on practice management for the organization with the hiring of two CFPs, James Tissot of New York and Valerie Porter of Indianapolis, as consultants in this area.
She also announced a number of initiatives to help advisors use the resources made available by FPA, including a virtual meeting service, customized marketing pieces through FPA Client Connect and succession planning assistance through FPA Practice Management.
“The average age of our members in 52,” she said. “We’d like to bring that down, so we’re very focused on next-gen.”
She concluded her remarks by noting the organization’s 23,360 members, down from a high of 29,000 immediately following the formation of the group in 2000, but 200 members above the low experienced at the beginning of 2012.
“Our membership numbers have stabilized,” she said, before Paul Auslander, FPA’s 2012 president, added that “taking a stand like suing the SEC will result in not everyone agreeing with us and some will leave, so quite frankly it is good we’re at 23,000 members.”
Auslander had begun the discussion by noting current CEO Marv Tuttle’s departure effective at the close of the conference in San Antonio on Tuesday.
“It’s been a busy year for FPA,” he said. “Marv moved his retirement up due to family considerations. We short-cut our search somewhat, but Lauren would have been on the short-list anyway. We admire Lauren’s operational skills. Marv was great at the ’30,000 foot view,’ and we will benefit from her experience.”