Wednesday, August 28, 2013

By Chris Rivers, CFP®


Recently, our firm conducted a time management workshop with the help of an outside practice management consultant.  Our entire company from principals to interns gathered and went through a full day’s worth of exercises, group discussions, breakout sessions, and individual tasks.  Each of us took away one action item to track (with the help of a partner) over the next 21 days, in an effort to change one bad habit for each of us.

Clearly we each took away something concrete from the day. However, equally as important was the time we spent together, the interaction in the room, and the opportunity for collaboration by employees would not typically work together on a project.  Too often we fall into the trap of focusing on the task at hand, or feeling that we are “too busy” to get away from our desks; or almost equally as important, take our staff away from their desks.

It can be hard to give up productive hours from our staff in order to have them attend a training session or conference.  If they do not hold a license or designation, or there are no CE credits involved, there is even less motivation to pay them to be out of the office for half a day or a full day. 

I thought about this as I looked at the FPA NCA schedule for this fall.  On September 12th at Bethesda Country Club, we have a luncheon program by Dan Finley on “Five Core Principles for Mastering Interpersonal Relations.”   Two weeks later on September 24th we have a networking happy hour at Chima Steakhouse in Tysons Corner, which is a joint event held by FPA NCA and FPA NexGen. (What is NexGen? See Laurie Belew’s posts here and here.)  On October 10th, we have a luncheon program at Maggiano’s in Tysons Corner on “The Case for Succession Planning.” And then in November (back at Bethesda) we have a Professional Development Program.

As you can see, this fall’s program schedule offers a wealth of valuable content, and should be particularly helpful for those in the early or middle stages of their career path.  Aside from the concrete material presented, there will be great value in being in the room, networking and interacting with peers and successful planners, and simply being a part of the community experience that is FPA NCA.

When planning the time management workshop above, it was difficult to “give up” a full day’s worth of work, but the positive effects of the day will be felt long after we have caught up on any work that sat idle for a few hours.   So…if you have support staff, paraplanners, new hires, or career changers in your office, please consider bringing them out to an event this fall.  You may be surprised how valuable the experience is for everyone. 

Friday, August 9, 2013

By: Helen Modly, CFP, CPWA
President-Elect FPA NCA

Earlier this year, Investment News reported that the CFP Board of Standards is exploring whether or not they should become actual providers of Continuing Education (CE) content as well as being the entity that sets the requirements for CE, reviews and approves the content of programs and generally oversees the providers of CE content.

The Board’s reasoning is that currently available CE content is not of the caliber that the board desires and that this jeopardizes the value of the CFP marks. In their view, the way to mitigate this is to actually produce and sell CE content to members, thus becoming a competitor to the 1,250 organizations and firms that are registered with the Board of Standards as current CE content providers. Many in our industry, including FPA National and NAPFA are concerned that this foray into the business of providing CE content for a fee creates an unnecessary conflict of interest for the Board of Standards.

Not only would they now be competing financially against the very organizations that they are charged with overseeing, but they would also be in the enviable competitive position of still reviewing and approving the content of all the other providers while also developing their own content. This is just asking for trouble down the road.

If the primary concern is really the quality of commercially available CE programs, the Board could use their current authority to simply raise the standards for approving content without competing against those they regulate.  

It leads one to wonder whether their exploration of becoming a CE provider is more of a revenue enhancement issue than a real concern over content standards. A recent member survey conducted by FPA National confirmed that the majority of responders were against the Board becoming a CE provider while still being the regulator of such providers.  

The Board has indicated that it may make a final decision this fall. If you have an opinion on this issue, you can share it with the CFP Board of Standards using this link: Let them hear from you!


Friday, August 2, 2013

Ryan M. Fleming, CFP®
President’s Message

Happy Summer! I hope you’re enjoying it as much as I am. It feels a lot busier this summer with more active clients than in years past, but it’s good to be busy, so no complaints here. FPA is pretty quiet in the summer, but that doesn’t mean we stop working. There is a lot to plan for fall, and we file our Roadmap to Success this month, which creates a framework for our 2014 board of directors’ strategic planning meeting. One of the results of that filing with FPA National is the Gold Level Chapter banner that you see hanging on the lectern at every event. The chapter also usually receives an Outstanding Achievement Award for one of our events or programs – pro bono, golf, and strong chapter governance have received awards in the past, as well as career development and membership.

Before we get into our fall plans, we need to ask for help. Melissa Sotudeh has volunteered to help coordinate the planning of the 2013 Metro Washington Financial Planning Day (MWFPD). This is the fourth annual MWFPD, and the event is put on nationally in conjunction with the Foundation for Financial Planning, CFP Board, FPA National, and U.S. Conference of Mayors. We are in need of volunteers for the event, so please look for our email announcements in another month calling for volunteers for the event. We have one individual who is going to be responsible for volunteers, and Melissa will coordinate with Eddy Demirovic at the CFP Board, with the Mayor’s office, and with the facility, Columbia Heights Educational Campus. The only on-site day is the day of the event, tentatively set for Saturday, October 26th. We had 100 brave souls and 50 volunteers our first MWFPD and over 300 attendees in 2012. It’s a great way to build your pro bono bona fides and would be a huge assist to the chapter. The CFP Board does a ton of work (they’re in our back yard), and the people who arrive for counseling are very grateful for the volunteers who help that day.

September has two programs – a two-credit-hour luncheon preceded by a free-to-members CFP ethics program. The Advisor/Client Connection: Five Core Principles for Mastering Interpersonal Relations is presented by Dan Finley, President and Co-Founder of Advisor Solutions. It is separated into five parts and looks like a neat presentation for new and experienced advisors. You are encouraged to bring a NexGen colleague with you – even better, make it a non-FPA-member staffer to give them a taste of our chapter. September 12th at Bethesda Country Club.

The second September program is the second of our semiannual FPA – FPA NexGen happy hours. The first was a runaway success, so we’ve upgraded the facility. If you’re not familiar with NexGen, then you’re clearly not reading my ramblings. In May and June, fellow board member Laurie Belew authored a What and Who is NexGen for the uninitiated. The happy hour is a great opportunity for chapter luminaries and successful advisors to mix and mingle with the 36-and-under set in the profession. Some in NexGen are owners of practices, others are senior advisors, and others are fresh out of college. They are many and varied in our chapter. We benefit from having them at events and vice versa. But this particular event gives us an opportunity for quality one-on-one time in a relaxed atmosphere. It will be September 24 from 5p to 7p at Chima Steak House on Towers Crescent in Tysons. Very few people knew each other at the last event, so don’t be shy – we’re great at integrating newcomers into the fold.
October 10 at Maggiano’s in Tysons is the new member reception at 10:30a, an informal gathering of board members with new-to-chapter or new-to-meetings members. Following this is a neat program on Succession Planning by Sameer Somal of Blue Ocean Global Wealth.

Enjoy the rest of your summer. See you in September.

Best regards,

Ryan M. Fleming, CFP®
2013 President, FPA of the National Capital Area