Eight schools to showcase their students’ knowledge in financial planning in annual competition.

DENVER (August 31, 2023) – The Financial Planning Association® (FPA®), Ameriprise Financial, and CFP Board are pleased to announce the finalists participating in the 2023 Financial Planning Challenge. This competition, jointly sponsored by the three organizations, is designed exclusively for college and university finance undergraduate degree programs registered with CFP Board or related fields of study through a three-stage event. The first two phases are modeled after CFP Board’s Financial Plan Development (Capstone) Course requirement.

The Financial Planning Challenge aims to promote the financial planning profession as a vibrant community and viable career choice for today’s students. Now in its 13th year, the competition provides students with a holistic financial planning learning experience and actively engages them within the financial planning community. Through the competition, students can forge valuable connections, explore diverse career paths, and enrich their knowledge of the profession.

This year, the spotlight shines on eight exceptional teams advancing to the final rounds of the Financial Planning Challenge, to be showcased at FPA Annual Conference 2023, taking place from Sept. 27-29 in Phoenix, Arizona.

  • Texas Tech University: George Allen, Christopher Olsen, Caleb Hoopes, and Michael Guillemette, Ph.D., CFP® (faculty advisor).
  • University of Arizona: Jackson Hidinger, Maicy Wear, and Andrew Waldum, CFP® (faculty advisor).
  • University of Akron: Cole Noland, Jordan Marecek, Niklas Lehtinen, and Dr. Taufiq Hasan Quadria (faculty advisor).
  • University of North Florida: Matthew Dougherty, Ansley Nicolaus, Sydney Bridges, and Ron Heymann, MBA, CFP®, ChFC (faculty advisor).
  • University of Denver: Evan Brink, FPQP®, Natalie Ford, Devynn Pavek, and Paul Harrison, CPA, CFP® (faculty advisor).
  • Pennsylvania Western University: Sarah Keating, Olivia Lewandowski, Jacob Campbell, and Michael Engdahl, JD, MS, CFP® (faculty advisor).
  • The Ohio State University: Zach Konvolinka, Grant Van Winkle, Thomas Vinel, and Cäzilia Loibl, Ph.D., CFP® (faculty advisor).
  • University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign: Brian Paoli, David Sun, Noah Gay, and Donovan Sanchez, CFP® (faculty advisor).

“We are proud to host this extraordinary event alongside our esteemed partners, CFP Board and Ameriprise Financial. Together, we seek to provide aspiring financial planners with exceptional opportunities for learning, growth, and meaningful connections within our community,” said Patrick D. Mahoney, FPA chief executive officer. “The demand for talent in financial planning is ever-increasing, and through this competition, we aim to show there is a clear path that bridges the transition from the classroom to a successful and rewarding career in financial planning.”

“The Financial Planning Challenge is a unique way for students to earn experience hours toward CFP® certification while exploring careers in this rewarding profession,” said CFP Board CEO Kevin R. Keller, CAE. “Congratulations to all those selected to advance to the finals.”

Teams advance in the challenge by competing in the following three phases:

  1. Written financial planning case study
  2. Case study presentation
  3. “How Do You Know?” Challenge, a game-show-style financial planning knowledge contest

“As a firm with a longstanding commitment to financial planning, we embrace the opportunity to invest in training and development for the next generation of financial advisors, especially as more consumers are seeking advice,” said David Bresler, vice president of advisor development at Ameriprise. “We’re proud to support this event, which showcases the highly talented teams and individuals who will be leading the industry for years to come.”

The final two stages of the competition include the case study presentation and "How Do You Know?" Challenge, which takes place at the FPA Annual Conference 2023. The top three winning teams will receive a monetary scholarship for their respective schools.

"The Financial Planning Challenge is one of the highlights of my experience at FPA Annual Conference each year. It's not only fascinating to see the level of exceptional talent coming through the CFP Board-registered programs across the country, but even as a seasoned financial planner, I can learn something new," added 2023 FPA President James Lee, CFP®, CRPC®, AIF®. "These students are impressive, and it's exciting to see that the profession's future appears to be in very good hands for the foreseeable future!"


About the Financial Planning Association

The Financial Planning Association® (FPA®) is the leading membership organization and trade association for CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals and those engaged in the financial planning process. FPA is the CFP® professional’s partner in planning by helping them realize their vision of professional fulfillment through practice support, learning, advocacy, and networking. Learn more about FPA at financialplanningassociation.org and on Twitter at twitter.com/fpassociation.

About CFP Board

CFP Board is the professional body for personal financial planners in the U.S. CFP Board consists of two affiliated organizations focused on advancing the financial planning profession for the public’s benefit. CFP Board of Standards sets and upholds standards for financial planning and administers the prestigious CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certification — widely recognized by the public, advisors and firms as the standard for financial planners — so that the public has access to the benefits of competent and ethical financial planning. CFP® certification is held by more than 96,000 people in the U.S. CFP Board Center for Financial Planning addresses diversity and workforce development challenges and conducts and publishes research that adds to the financial planning profession’s body of knowledge.

About Ameriprise Financial

At Ameriprise Financial, we have been helping people feel more confident about their financial future for more than 125 years. With extensive investment advice, asset management and insurance capabilities and a nationwide network of approximately 10,000 financial advisors, we have the strength and expertise to serve the full range of individual and institutional investors' financial needs.