“I hear some people in the press might have questions about the CFP Board’s definition of fee-only and other compensation,” Michael Branham, FPA’s 2013 president, said to laughter during the Q&A portion of a lunchtime meeting on Sunday between the Financial Planning Association’s leadership and members of the press.
“Is the fee-only definition from the CFP Board practical?” Branham rhetorically asked. “After all, NAPFA’s and the CFP Board’s definitions conflict.”
He noted that FPA “supports the right” of the CFP Board to “do what they did” in disallowing certain planners from calling themselves fee-only, “but we agree with [CFP Board CEO] Kevin Keller’s call for a broader conversation on the topic.”
Referencing another recent controversy involving the CFP Board, continuing education and the announcement in March that the board is thinking of becoming a CE provider, Branham said it would be as if “the referees start playing the game.”
“They set the rule and want to play,” he said. “We’re afraid it will hurt the reputation of the CFP mark, but we agree that the quality of continuing education must be high and must be maintained.”
He added that a continuing education task force will be convened, headed by FPA member Dan Moisand.
Responding to questions at the press conference, the CFP Board released a statement calling the FPA a “strong partner” of the Board, “working with us to advocate important policy positions.” On the CE issue, the statement says that the Board is “very well aware” of the FPA’s concerns, that “we fully heard all of FPA’s concerns” and that the CFP Board “has made no decision on the CE issue and it will not be considered” by the CFP Board’s Board of Directors “until its November meeting, at the earliest.”
In addition to the those controversies around the CFP Board, the FPA leadership at the press conference in Orlando at FPA Experience 2013 discussed major initiatives announced a day earlier during the conference’s kickoff presentation.
The first was the establishment of the FPA Research and Practice Institute to conduct original research to help planners with practice management.
“The evolution of the planning profession, the increasing nature of regulation, fast-paced growth in technology and increasing need to identify quality personnel can make it challenging to achieve the desired professional and business goals,” said Lauren Schadle, executive director and CEO of FPA. She added that the first release of the research will be a practice management study performed in collaboration with Advisor Impact, which surveyed 2,500 respondents.
The second was the announcement of a new website for the organization for both planners and the public. It will debut next month with a soft launch and will feature a personal dashboard for each FPA member.
“We’re made a significant investment in technology,” Schadle added, noting a virtual form of FPA Experience 2013 will be available to attendees of the live event for three months.
She added that since becoming CEO, she has been working hard to implement the organization’s strategic business plan, which focuses on four core services: professional education, business success, advocacy and community.