FPA CEO Lauren Schadle.

The Financial Planning Association announced Tuesday that it plans to soon launch Knowledge Circles, gathering places for like-minded FPA members who want to engage in dialogue about best practices and innovations on particular topics.

The first three Knowledge Circles, to be introduced at FPA’s annual conference in Seattle in late September, will include circles for business success, international and retirement planning/Social Security optimization.

In the months following the conference, FPA says that it will introduce circles for estate planning, investment planning, risk planning and tax planning. The FPA is planning eight circles; however, the eighth circle’s topic area is yet to be determined, according to FPA spokesman Ben Lewis.

FPA said Tuesday that it is now taking applications from members who are interested in serving as a host of one of the circles, and is also collecting names of interested members who want to actively participate in one of the circles when they officially kick off.

As the FPA explains, the circles will be spearheaded by “host” volunteers who will act as curators of content, facilitators of discussion, and help drive engagement of circle participants. Those interested in participating can sign-up to be added to a “pre-list” comprised of future Circle participants, FPA says.

Each Knowledge Circle will also be able to decide how to connect, via online discussion forums, on-camera webinars, happy hour chats or in-person meetings.

The Circles will not only allow participants to “delve deeper into core subject areas, but will be central to future FPA programming,” the FPA says. FPA will use the circle discussions as “proving grounds” to create content of importance and interest to members.

“While FPA members are dedicated to the practice of financial planning, they often have specialties or topics they are simply enthusiastic about,” said Lauren Schadle, FPA executive director and CEO, in a statement. “The Knowledge Circle program will allow members with a specific interest to discuss best practices and work collectively on innovative ideas while providing valuable guidance to FPA.”

All of FPA’s 23,000 members, which includes 16,000 CFPs, are free to take part in the circles.

Check out The Rise of the Financial Planning Academic by Michael Kitces on ThinkAdvisor.