Dick Wagner was a financial planning luminary who was fervent about the critical role of financial planning and the responsibility of financial planners in the lives of their clients. This conviction was evident in the words he spoke and wrote throughout his professional life, and those words will live on in the years to come. I did not know Dick personally, but all I have heard and read from and about this tremendous thought leader confirms what he meant to this noble profession.

As FPA embarks on an ambitious journey to secure the legal recognition of financial planners through title protection, I hear Dick Wagner’s words as I consider the ‘why’ of this bold undertaking. In an interview for the April 2016 issue of the Journal of Financial Planning, Dick said:

“I think financial planning done right is, in fact, a profession, but there are an awful lot of people who are calling themselves financial planners who fall a bit shy of that standard.”

Dick goes on to add:

“How do we play in the public environment? How do we accept responsibility for being an authentic profession that has something to contribute to the public dialogue? …We do have to say we want the best for our clients. We want to create an environment where people can relate to the fearsome forces that money generates in a healthy and productive manner. We want to look at ourselves in the mirror and say, ‘We’re worth it.’”

We are worth it.

As we said in our announcement about our pursuit of title protection and the many news stories published on this significant decision by the FPA Board of Directors, this is an ambitious, prudent objective. Financial planning is a noble profession worthy of recognition and protection because our valued Members and the clients they serve are worth it. They are worth the time and resource allocation the Association is prepared to devote to see it to fruition because it is the right thing to do.

Our Members, who have worked hard to build their financial planning competencies and commit to high ethical standards, should be recognized as professionals. That means protecting their ability to call themselves financial planners without diluting the term by those who have not met the same qualifications. For financial planners, it’s worth it.

The clarity in the marketplace is critical to ensuring consumers can identify and engage financial planners who can help them build a plan for financial health. Title protection will ensure that anyone professing to be a financial planner is qualified to address the full range of financial issues consumers face. That means consumers can trust that their financial health is the focus of their relationship with a financial planner. For consumers, it’s worth it.

We will take the time we need to ensure our strategies are sound and lead to the best possible outcome for our Members and consumers. We will share our process for engaging our stakeholders, including other organizations who share our vision for the profession's future, to design our path forward. We are going into this effort with an open mind and a sincere desire to listen to your ideas. Please share them because your voice matters, and you’re worth it.

In Case You Missed It

The FPA team is working hard to help you make the most of your membership. Over the past few months, we have announced some exciting programs and services that add to your FPA experience, including:

  • Terrific Keynotes Announced for FPA Annual Conference 2022: FPA Annual Conference 2022 will feature an engaging, thought-provoking, and highly relevant program that is important to the work you do every day for your clients. So, we wanted to match that quality by offering an outstanding slate of keynote speakers, including Sallie Krawcheck, Keith Ferrazzi, and Traci Brown. We know Sallie, Keith, and Traci will make our event a ‘must attend’ experience for those who join us in Seattle from December 12-14. Registration is open; the earlier you register, the more you can save. So, register today.
  • The Journal of Financial Planning Receives National Award: In August, we were excited to announce that the Journal of Financial Planning won the 2022 APEX Grand Award from APEX Awards for Publication Excellence. As one of 15 recipients of the APEX Grand Award in the “magazine, journals, and tabloids” category, the Journal demonstrated excellence in graphic design, editorial content, and the ability to achieve communication effectiveness. We are proud of our outstanding publications team and the many volunteer Members of the Journal’s Editorial Advisory Board for this achievement.
  • FPA Partners with Behavioral Finance Experts to Support Chapters: FPA’s 78 chapters provide an essential connection for Members to local opportunities for education and networking. To support our chapters in delivering high-quality programs, FPA has partnered with the Financial Behavior Keynote Group to make their impressive slate of behavioral finance experts available for chapter events at a significant discount. FPA chapters can now secure their speakers for in-person and virtual events with a 20% discount, and chapters with fewer than 400 Members can secure an additional 20% discount for virtual events. This partnership follows the announcement of a similar partnership with Kitces Speakers.
  • Get Caught Up on All FPA is Doing: If you missed the annual ‘State of FPA’ Virtual Update on July 21, we have you covered. The virtual update provides a deep dive into the Association’s business operations, finances, and programs and is available on demand. The update also covered the 2021 FPA Annual Report, which provides a detailed overview of the work that FPA did to support Members over the preceding year.

If you have questions, want to share input on our pursuit of title protection, or have some thoughts on how FPA can continue to make your FPA membership more valuable, please share them. I look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you for the privilege of your membership.