FPA Revises Primary Aim with an Eye on Elevating the Profession

Journal of Financial Planning: August 2018


Lauren Schadle, CAE, is executive director and CEO of the Financial Planning Association.

Now more than ever, it is important for FPA to build on the strong foundation laid by past leaders to define financial planning as a true profession. Making this powerful and important profession resonate in all corners of society is a goal we should all embrace and make central to our collective work.

FPA is keenly focused on not just advancing the profession, but also elevating it to be a recognized and respected profession that is held in high regard. That is why, after deep and reflective dialogue, the FPA Board of Directors clarified our organization’s Primary Aim:

“To elevate the profession that 
transforms lives through the power 
of financial planning.”

This revised FPA Primary Aim is our grand purpose statement. It is the inspirational and aspirational reason we exist that encourages all of us to reach new heights for the benefit of our association, our members, and the public.

To truly elevate the profession, we—the association, our leaders, and members—must marshal our resources and raise up our voices to influence those who have a direct impact on the trajectory of the financial planning profession. It’s why our focus on advocacy is so critical. It has been said, “If you don’t have a seat at the table, you’re probably on the menu.” Our advocacy work at the federal and state level is key to ensuring your professional membership association—and each of you individually—has that seat at that table.

Our combined advocacy efforts are positively elevating the profession.

FPA Advocacy Day

This past June, 85 FPA members descended upon Washington, D.C. to participate in the fifth annual FPA Advocacy Day where members participated in 95 different meetings with congressional leaders and their staffs. Your colleagues advocated on behalf of measures that will protect CFP® professionals while supporting an unambiguous fiduciary standard that will advance and elevate the profession. Due to the consistency of our messaging over the past five years and the impressive way our members represent the profession, our message is resonating on Capitol Hill, and that will serve all of us well into the future.

From Massachusetts to California and from Alabama to Minnesota, 25 state advocacy days will be held this year in partnership with our chapters and members. So far, 271 members have participated in these events and have held 231 different meetings with state lawmakers. Not only are we forging strong relationships with state policymakers and regulators, but our chapters and members are having a direct impact on state-level legislation that protects seniors from financial harm and successfully pushes back on legislation that would have taxed financial planning services and limited the ability of CFP® professionals from using the marks.

Add it up. That’s 356 passionate FPA members representing 71 percent of all FPA chapters who have engaged in 326 different meetings so far with state and federal lawmakers in 2018 alone. We are exerting our influence on those who can influence the trajectory of our profession!

Have a Voice

While CFP Board has finalized their new Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct, they did so by first seeking feedback from FPA and our CFP® professional members. Through a robust feedback effort, the FPA Member Advocacy Council (MAC) solicited member input on CFP Board’s proposed standards to ensure official comment letters from the association were representative of CFP® professional members of FPA.

Our Legislative and Regulatory Issues Committee (LRIC), made up of FPA members who are passionate about protecting our profession, synthesize all this input to help our association form its policies and make recommendations for action to the board. That same work is now being applied to the SEC’s proposed Rules and Interpretations to ensure our members are heard on the SEC’s proposals that are likely to impact all financial planners regardless of business or compensation model.

Elevate the Profession

As a volunteer-driven, professional membership organization, we recognize we are at this stage of our association’s evolution because of extraordinary efforts of our past and current leaders and members. We hope the revised Primary Aim resonates with you and that you’ll join us in elevating this outstanding profession—whether through advocacy efforts or in any other way where you have personal passion.

Thank you for your support of FPA. It is through the passion and dedication of our members and volunteer leaders that FPA—and our profession—is driven to even greater heights. 

General Financial Planning Principles
Professional Conduct & Regulation