FPA Major Firms Symposium - Event Highlights
The fifth annual Major Firms Symposium was held October 9-10, 2009 in Anaheim, CA at the Anaheim Marriott. About 70 industry executives participated in this event. Highlights from this event are below.
Click to go to a specific session:
FPA Executive Committee
Future of Financial Planning Regulation
Building a Profitable, Scalable Practice Management Capability
What is Financial Planning?
Richard Salmen, the current FPA President, teed up this year's event by talking about how large firms are essential to the community of FPA. FPA's vision is to help everyone thrive and prosper and large firms are essential to accomplishing that goal. Salmen went on to talk about some of the current initiatives FPA has to help achieve this vision including consumer outreach, expansion of the body of knowledge, and the regulatory issues the profession is currently facing.
Key Findings/Discussion Points:
• Attendees asked how FPA and the financial planning coalition is looking to handle the fiduciary issue. The executive committee noted that FPA broadly defines a fiduciary as someone who works in his/her client's best interest but that the details of how that may be regulated will likely be defined over a number of years through case law.
• Attendees also talked about the need to educate consumers on the value of financial planning and paying for a financial plan. They asked what FPA intends to do to help elevate consumer understanding. The executive committee noted that FPA is working to expand its online consumer portal (FPAforFinanicalPlanning.org) as well as strategic partnerships to help improve financial literacy and consumer awareness of the value of financial planning and paying for a financial plan.
W. Hardy Callcott, from Bingham, presented the history leading up to the current environment, the current state of industry regulation, and some of the proposals currently in Congress. To download the presentation click here.
Executives from AT&T, ActiFi, Albridge Solutions, EISI and SunGard participated in a discussion on where technology is heading.
- Data Integration and Aggregation - panelists spoke about the latest trends, industry standards and confirmed that it is a highly sought out area by major firms
- Social media - Many issues with compliance, so not many tools have been developed just yet.
- Retirement income planning - There is a large demand for this, particularly as it relates to the Roth conversion opportunity in 2010.
- Technology Platforms - While many firms are looking for software as a service, there is still a large demand for desktop applications because of performance and security issues.
- Adoption - Lots of opportunities for firms to provide more user-friendly tools and interfaces. Training is a big issue and firms need to focus here. Additionally, they see a lot of tools underutilized due to these issues
Julie Littlechild presented research around the economics of loyalty including four client segments (engaged, content, complacent, and disgruntled), client engagement preferences, and growing the client relationship. To download the presentation please click here.
Spenser Segal, CEO of ActiFi, presented a model for how to provide consistent, high-quality practice management solutions to advisers. He discussed ways to leverage technology to help empower your practice management coaches/consultants to apply best practices and existing content to specific adviser situations and follow-up with advisers on their progress. Spenser's presentation starts with a framework for scalable practice management and concludes with an example of how the framework could be put into action. To download the presentation please click here.
Executives from a number of large firms gathered together to work on a concrete and mutually agreeable definition of financial planning. Specifically, this working session was focused on going beyond the general understanding of financial planning being defined as (1) "'Personal financial planning' or 'financial planning' denotes the process of determining whether and how an individual can meet life goals through the proper management of financial resources. Financial planning integrates the financial planning process with the financial planning subject areas" (U.S. CFP Board of Standards), or (2) a "process designed to enable a consumer to achieve his/her/their personal financial goals" (ISO Standard 22222:2005E) to the specific characteristics that define financial planning.
The Major Firms Advisory Team developed a framework for the discussion which focused on answering these four questions:
- What level of breadth in the subject areas is required?
- What level of integration?
- Do you have to complete all steps outlined in the six step financial planning process?
- What duration or at what point in time does it become financial planning?
Since the goal of the discussion was to focus on defining financial planning independent of the delivery mechanisms or the distinction of professional versus self-directed financial planning, questions around the following areas were considered out of scope and were not addressed:
- How is it delivered?
- What channel is used for delivery?
- How is it remunerated?
- What level of technical competence?
- How is it regulated?
Major Firms Initiative Supporters
FPA thanks AT&T as the national sponsor of the Major Firms Initiative.
FPA also thanks Actifi, Albridge, EISI, and SunGard for their support of the Major Firms Symposium.