“This can be on or off the record, I don’t care,” said Michael Branham, “I wouldn’t be speaking to you here today if it wasn’t for NexGen.” The Financial Planning Association’s 2013 president was speaking on Saturday, day one of the FPA Experience 2013, the national conference of the FPA, being held this year in Orlando (Seattle is the site of next year’s Experience.)
The self-assured, well-spoken Branham’s passion for nurturing the next generation of financial planners shone through in the interview.One example of his erudition: When asked if the FPA wasn’t tempted, as part of its advocacy efforts, to publicly comment on the economic and client disruptions of the recently resolved U.S. government shutdown, Branham didn’t hesitate to respond. “We could have stated the obvious,” he said, “but it’s better for us to focus on advocacy issues that affect our members. We don’t want to have any organizational [mission] creep.”
“NexGen has 2,000 members,” Branham pointed out during a conference at which some good-natured electioneering—including on Twitter—was percolating to pick the next NexGen president. Himself a former NexGen president, in 2008, Branham is a CFP and senior associate at Cornerstone Wealth Advisors, noted holistic advisor Jonathan Guyton’s firm based in Minneapolis. He joined the FPA national board in 2009, is president this year (ahead of Janet Stanzak,another fellow Minnesotan, who is 2013 president elect).
Speaking of FPA in the broader sense, Branham said “We’re the first organization to dedicate time and resources” to find and nurture the next generation of planners, “plus we’re producing the next generation of leaders for FPA.” He’s particularly proud of the Nex Gen student chapters at universities around the country.” Those chapters, and FPA leadership’s long-standing commitment to younger planners, will help, he said, “sustain growth and provide stability” to the larger organization, whose “founders gave us a great platform.” He concluded: “We have to be dedicated to the next generation.”