This is Eleanor Blayney’s first appearance on the IA 25. Click here to view the complete list and Special Report schedule for extended profiles for each of the 2013 IA 25 honorees.
Eleanor Blayney started in the financial industry as a “Beltway bandit,” she said, working with a consulting firm on projects for the EPA.
“It was a good career and I was doing very well and was paid very well, but I hated it. I wasn’t enjoying having the government as a client. I couldn’t make eye contact with the government.”
It’s not surprising then that Blayney should have ended up as the Consumer Advocate for the CFP Board, a role that puts her directly in front of consumers as a representative for the financial services industry at large.
She took that role at the beginning of 2009, after several months of discussions with CFP Board CEO Kevin Keller to develop the position, before the “true meltdown” took place.
“It was almost coincidence that the position that we thought about in the middle of 2008 was more needed than ever,” she said. “We both acknowledged that Americans needed to understand more about the financial planning process and needed to understand more about the CFP designation and exactly what went into it.”
In her five years at the CFP Board, Blayney has spent her time trying to reach out to consumers. “Many times, what’s needed is to make all of the complexity of personal finance more accessible, give it a human dimension,” she said.
A major challenge for “any advisor left standing in the last five or six years” is the double-tap of the market crash and consumers’ subsequent loss of trust in financial planners.