One minor announcement came out of this year's Financial Planning Association annual conference in Anaheim this week that didn't garner much media attention from the big outlets (InvestmentNews, Financial Advisor, Financial Planning, etc.), but I think the announcement presents the opportunity to drastically change the dynamic of the financial planning industry.
What's the announcement?
It's the unveiling of a community-based encyclopedia of financial planning information called Planipedia, based on the paradigm-changing Wikipedia model. (Personally I like the domain name pfwiki.org, but it's reserved by what looks like a domain squatter in Dallas, TX)
In fact, the only media coverage I've seen comes from Investment Executive, a Canadian newspaper for financial advisors.
Planipedia is the culmination of efforts led by Shawn Brayman, president of Lindsey, Ontario-based PlanPlus Inc. Brayman received the Silver Level Award by the Financial Frontiers Awards in 2007 for his research on a mathematical algorithm that allows a replacement for Monte Carlo Simulations.
From the Investment Executive article, Brayman said:
“Our vision was a Wiki-style community that was focused on client’s best interest, bringing together the best minds worldwide in financial planning. We believe that we are well on the way with support now from professional planning associations in Europe, the Americas and Asia, academics, authors and professional planners.”
So how do I think this will change the financial planning industry dynamic? Frankly, as Planipedia grows and matures, advisors will spend less time searching for technical information on taxes, insurance, retirement, or estate planning saved in scattered places on company servers and instead turn to the online encyclopedia.
While this gain in efficiency and knowledge consolidation is great for advisor productivity, I'm curious how advisors feel about Planipedia being a public resource for anyone and everyone. Will Planipedia supersede the value that advisors provide in coordinating clients' financial planning? In other words, will consumers turn to Planipedia in order to self-advise?
I don't know the answers to these questions, and it remains to be seen how Planipedia will be adopted by consumers and the financial planning profession. If the site is able to attract contributions and collaborations from the top minds in the industry today (think Evensky, Katz, Kitces, Guyton, et. al.), I think it will live up to my expectations as a game-changer.
So what does the advisors4advisors community think about Planipedia? I appreciate your thoughts in the comments below.