The Financial Planning Association recently announced an alliance with the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education. AFCPE provides designations to financial advisors and you have to wonder if the partnership could affect the value of the Certified Financial Planner designation.
This Website Is For Financial Professionals Only
“The joint efforts will provide significant value to the constituents of FPA, the nation’s largest membership group for personal financial planning experts and AFCPE, which is dedicated to educating, training and certifying financial counselors and educators,” says the January 23 press release issued by FPA.
FPA faces some serious challenges, and has experienced a slump in membership at FPA. Unlike other industry membership groups, such as the CFA Institute, the Investment Management Consultants Association, American Institute of CPAs, and AFCPE, FPA does not award a designation to its members. In an age of social networking, where advisors can connect without the help of a professional association, FPA’s business model could be outmoded. That’s why FPA’s alliance with AFCPE could be provocative.
FPA’s ranks have long been dominated by CFPs. If FPA is seeking to grow by putting its imprimatur on additional designations—those supported by AFCPE—it’s fair to wonder whether the importance CFP designation will be diluted.
AFCPE licenses the Accredited Financial Counselor designation. Its purpose is to “develop the profession of personal finance by promoting linkages among educators, practitioners, researchers, and with other relevant groups,” according to its website.
AFCPE looks like a credible young professional association. According to Form 990s filed with the IRS, AFCPE generated about $1.3 million in revenue in 2010 and it first filed a Form 990 in 2007. About $621,000 of its 2010 revenue was generated through its conference and course, while $489,592 was generated on educational activities, and $195,711 of revenue came from membership dues. Many members of its Board of Directors are educators.
It will be interesting to see how FPA’s partnership with AFCPE affects CFPs.