The FPA is seeking volunteers to offer pro bono financial planning services during these hard times.
In a notice published on its website, the association says it wants to hear from members who “want to volunteer to support your community through pro bono financial planning during the COVID-19 crisis.”
A link notes that “today COVID-19 is having a significant impact on every American no matter this background or location. But those Americans from underserved communities who cannot afford the services of a financial planner are going to feel the financial ramifications the most.”
Members who are interested in volunteering are advised to contact Kurt Kaczor, FPA’s director of pro bono, at Kkaczor@onefpa.org. Volunteers should be certified financial planners and FPA members in good standing who have completed an online pro bono training course and who signs a letter of engagement to participate in the association’s pro bono efforts now.
“We just started outreach 48 hours ago, so we are pleased with the number so far but are looking to get more members engaged in this effort,” said Ben Lewis, managing director of external communications and public outreach, on Friday.
Jamie Rugg, who has volunteered for the effort, tells ThinkAdvisor that the COVID-19 outbreak has “hit probably two most stressful topics for anyone — financial health and personal health — and both are affected at the same time … It’s crucial for our community to step up and assist the public.” Rugg is a director of pro bono efforts for the FPA’s Los Angeles chapter.
Rob Hernandez, chair of the FPA’s Metro New York chapter and an investment advisor rep for Transamerica Financial Advisors who has initiated pro bono efforts, says the challenge now is to continue ongoing pro bono efforts with community-based organizations like Habitat for Humanity, church groups and community centers who “put arms around their clients and bring them into their facilities.” Since those groups can’t have in-person meetings now, “we have to help them transition to how to present services and support,” says Hernandez.
Foundation for Financial Planning Also Supporting Pro Bono Efforts
In addition, the FPA’s pro bono effort for people in need the Foundation for Financial Planning, which has been a partner with the FPA on pro bono work, has launched a dedicated page on its website with relevant resources for advisors and pro bono clients. It asks advisors to send ideas about additional resources that should be included to Rachel Roth at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The foundation also offers emergency grants and technical assistance to keep pro bono programs afloat, including moving in-person engagements to virtual models and helping cover overhead costs where possible, and it has accelerated the launch of a new CFP Volunteer match platform to facilitate connections between pro bono financial planners and nonprofits that have (virtual) opportunities to serve those in need.
Help for Financial Advisors
For those financial advisors who have some difficulty paying their annual dues during these tough times, the FPA expects to offer a financial hardship option in the near future.
The FPA also recently launched a Volatility Resource Center to help advisors keep up with the latest important news on COVID-19 and navigate market volatility. The site includes updates from the the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization and research papers addressing market volatility and market crashes from the Journal of Financial Planning.
In addition, the association’s FPA Connect website has added a section with past webinars on supporting clients and a link to an online forum where members can ask questions, share information and take advantage of peer-to-peer learning.
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