When we look back at 2021, I believe we will view it as the year when FPA turned the proverbial corner from an organization struggling to define its role for the financial planning community to an organization that embraced its role as the partner in planning for its valued members. It has taken the Association some time to understand this responsibility. Still, our work over the past year has clarified what we are about as a membership organization and what we aim to be for our valued members.

Not only have we been focused on defining our role, but we have been hard at work to make membership worthy of your investment. 2021 witnessed the development of new programs, initiatives, partnerships, and benefits that augment your experience as a member and set FPA up for even greater things to come in the years ahead.

Let’s take a closer look at some of our accomplishments over the past year.

  • We launched the new FPA Marketplace, in partnership with the Chalice Network®, to provide you with access to a diverse array of discounts on services and products relevant to you as a practicing financial planner, including fintech, insurance, marketing, compliance, and more. The Marketplace also provides access to BenefitHub, which offers huge savings on thousands of lifestyle products and services we all need in our everyday lives.
  • Our new partnership with SoFi provides you with access to preferred rates and exclusive access to a suite of financial solutions, services, and educational resources, which are also available to your financial planning clients.
  • A new collaboration with NARSSA – the National Association of Registered Social Security Analysts – provides you with education on Social Security, including access to the RSSA course. The five-module course teaches all aspects of Social Security and trains you to expertly use leading-edge Social Security maximization software.
  • We are offering the FPA Fall Learning Series to bring much of the education that was to be delivered at the Annual Conference to you at no cost and with a ton of CFP® CE credits. The four-week program brings engaging live and on-demand webinars to you, covering tax planning, estate planning, business planning, and so much more.
  • The FPA Virtual Externship was held over the summer to expose hundreds of students, career changers, and seasoned financial planners to how financial planning is done across various planning firms. Led by Hannah Moore, CFP®, the program has once again proven to be one of the most innovative programs the profession has seen in quite some time.
  • We launched the Asian-American/Pacific Islander Knowledge Circle and the Neurodivergent Planner Knowledge Circle to provide a safe, welcoming environment where these valued members can converse, share best practices, and learn from each other.
  • We partnered with the Latino Leadership Institute (LLI) to offer FPA members access to LLI’s Insight to Inclusive Leadership program. This six-part, virtual program is rooted in neuroscience and self-awareness, and its cohort format allows for deep connections between participants.
  • We introduced the results of our annual Trends in Investing research, which explores where financial planners are investing today and where they will be investing in the year ahead. This year, we worked with Tyrone Ross, CEO of Onramp Invest, to examine and understand cryptocurrencies and where planners are with adopting this trending investment.
  • We partnered with Ric Edelman and the Digital Assets Council of Financial Professionals (DACFP) to bring their thought leadership to members and provide a 50% discount on their Certificate in Blockchain and Digital Assets program.
  • We have worked to bring new talent to the FPA team to hone our focus on serving the needs of today’s CFP® professionals and amplify the value of membership. This year we added Leslie Whittet, our Chief Membership Experience Officer, Daniel McHugh, our Director of Marketing, Danielle Andrus, our Editor of the Journal of Financial Planning, and others to the team.
  • We are winding down our two-year OneFPA Network beta test. The process was a learning experience for everyone involved and resulted in the adoption of new initiatives designed to support our ever-important chapters and open greater collaboration across the Association. My recent communication with our Chapter Presidents can be viewed here if you are interested in learning more about our next steps.

While we want to celebrate our achievements of the past year, we are focused on what must be done to build on these successes so we can earn your membership in the years ahead. That means we will focus on delivering on a value proposition that we believe defines FPA’s role in your professional life as a financial planner.

Your Partner in Planning

At the encouragement of the OneFPA Advisory Council, an advisory body of representatives from FPA chapters, the FPA NexGen® community, and the FPA Diversity and Inclusion Committee, the FPA Board of Directors and staff worked this year to define our “core member” and value proposition. We are confident that where we landed better represents FPA’s role for our members and enable us to focus on delivering programs and benefits relevant to you:

FPA’s “core member” is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional.

FPA’s membership value proposition is:

As a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional, FPA is your partner in planning by helping you realize your vision of success with practice support, learning, advocacy, and networking.

While FPA will always welcome as members anyone engaged in the financial planning process, our attention on the specific needs of CFP® professionals is in line with the foundational focus of the Association in 2000. And, with a vast majority of members being CFP® professionals, we are staying true to our bylaws and belief in the standards prescribed by the CFP® marks.

As a CFP® professional, we know FPA can be at your side every step of the way as your partner in planning to help make you more successful, knowledgeable, and connected. By focusing on delivering opportunities to help you achieve greater business success, increase your financial planning competencies, advocate for your profession, and connect you with a dynamic community, we can help you achieve more professionally and personally.

At the start of the New Year, you will see this value proposition come to life. A revamped website will be available to make it easier to engage with the programs and benefits available to you. Condensed and streamlined membership categories will be introduced, and a simplified join and renew process will be available. We hope these changes and many others we have planned for 2022 make your membership experience invaluable.

In Case You Missed It

  • We are looking forward to welcoming you – in person! – to FPA Retreat 2022 to be held April 25-28 at the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort and Spa outside of Austin, TX. This one-of-a-kind event is designed to help you relax, be reinvigorated, and challenge your way of thinking about yourself, your business, and your profession. It’s an opportunity to rekindle past relationships and forge new ones—all in a beautiful, intimate setting. Registration is now open, and we hope you will join us!

The past couple of years have been challenging for all of us. The difficulties posed by COVID-19 have challenged all corners of society. And chances are they have been felt profoundly by each of you, your businesses, your clients, and your families. Over the past two years, I have heard stories of resilience from FPA members and our ever-important chapters and communities. I am inspired by how they have adapted to this new reality and emerged stronger because of it.

While new variants may prolong the pandemic’s impact, we acknowledge that the world will go on. FPA must continue that resilience that has propelled us through the past couple of years because there is significant work to do to sustain our community and ensure our profession continues to flourish in the years ahead.

From all of us at FPA, we hope you have a happy and healthy holiday season. And, as always, if you have questions, concerns, ideas, or comments about how we can continue to improve your experience, please share them. We look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you for the privilege of your membership.