The Financial Planning Association is standing by its recent decision to tap TD Ameritrade executive Skip Schweiss as its new president-elect. It also has clarified figures for its membership decline over the past decade and says it has not “banned” popular blogger and planner Michael Kitces from some events, as Kitces has said.
On Wednesday, the FPA chose Schweiss, president of TD Ameritrade Trust Co. as well as managing director of advisor advocacy and industry affairs for TD Ameritrade Institutional, to be president-elect for 2020 and president in 2021. Schweiss is not a certified financial planner.
“Skip is an extraordinarily skilled leader with unquestionable character and integrity who has been an unwavering supporter and advocate of the financial planning profession, the CFP marks and an unambiguous fiduciary standard of care,” FPA said in a statement Monday.
In addition, it explained, Schweiss “is uniquely skilled to help lead FPA through some of the exciting transformational changes we’re engaged in … . All board members speak with one voice, and in the unusual circumstance where there is a conflict of interest on a particular issue, they are required to recuse themselves from engaging in that issue.”
Kitces opposes Schweiss’ election in part on the grounds that TD Ameritrade opposes a uniform fiduciary standard, while FPA supports such a standard.
Schweiss will serve a one-year term beginning Jan. 1, succeeding Martin Seay, who will replace Evelyn Zohlen as president.
In a blog post on Thursday, Kitces criticized Schweiss’ new role, stating that “if the FPA is finally going to get back on track again, and get its chapters growing with CFP professionals, a good [starting point] would be to keep the board actually focused on CFP professionals … not … to be led by a representative from a multi-million dollar corporate sponsor that espouses opposing advocacy views.”
He also asked in a reply to a comment: “Simply put, if the FPA is not willing to apply the requirements of a fiduciary obligation to itself (even and especially when it’s hard), how can the FPA ever maintain the credibility to advocate that a fiduciary duty be imposed on others?”
The FPA says its current membership is 22,221 and that it “tend[s] to fluctuate from the mid-22,000s to the mid-23,000s depending on the time of year.”