Does social networking make trade associations like the Financial Planning Association a relic of the past? It used to be that you needed a trade association to network with likeminded professionals. No more.
Social media would seem to undermine the value of a trade association. Now you can establish a group on LinkedIn to represent fee-only advisors, CFPs, or advisors to doctors.
Sites like Advisors4Advisors.com connect financial planners to one another.
In fact, social media arguably is a more democratic way of maintaining a community because it makes all voices equals, decentralizes leadership, and empowers group members to make their voices heard without approval of a formal board or committees.
This observation came to me as I was writing about the membership slump recently experienced by the Financial Planning Association.
While numerous challeneges undoubtedly contributed to the FPA's 15% membership drop—including the worst recession since FPA's predecessor organization was founded 40 years ago and FPA's controversial advocacy position in support of the fiduciary standard—the rising popularity of social media could also be an important factor.
Social media enables a group of likeminded individuals to communicate with each other.
You don’t need an annual meeting, a physical location, or much staff.
A social network for financial advisors replaces membership dues with ad revenue.
FPA is different from many financial advisor organizations, such as the CFA Institute, American Institute of CPAs, Investment Management Consultants Association and CFP Board of Standards. Those organizations are not only trade groups, they are licensing bodies. They derive revenue from licensing a professional designation and creating the educational programs supporting their respective designations.
The FPA is not a licensing body and its challenges are different.
Is the continued strength of the FPA important to financial planners?
How can the FPA provide value to advisors in the new world of social networking?