Dear NAPFA Member:
First, we want to thank you for engaging with us so that we could take the actions needed to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and so much more. We couldn’t have made it without you. As the crisis was unfolding, with travel restrictions and social distancing disrupting our scheduled events, we were committed to step-up our efforts to come together in a real way to support every member of the NAPFA community. We can now see light at the end of the tunnel, and we look forward to post-pandemic life.
As part of our ongoing efforts to keep you, the NAPFA members, informed regarding the work of the Board of Directors, we would like to share the following updates on major projects and initiatives addressed during the last six months.
Governance & Operations
- The NAPFA Board of Directors has continued to focus on the priorities included in the 2020-22 Strategic Framework. The new 2020-22 framework builds on our successes and addresses the challenges on the horizon. Its focus on Community, Competency, and Advocacy provides the aspirational north star needed to focus our work on behalf of the member community; the pandemic did not change our priorities. The Board is closely monitoring performance relative to the target outcomes and looks forward to its annual assessment in mid-May. At that time, we’ll also begin laying the foundation for a comprehensive effort to outline the association’s next strategic framework. That effort will focus on capturing input from our stakeholders to inform the Board’s planning efforts.
- NAPFA’s Leadership Development Committee (LDC) accepted applications and nominations through mid-January and began its search for the 2021 class of Board volunteers. Building the pipeline of volunteer leadership is extremely important for the future of the organization. The LDC is on track to present the recommended slate to the Board of Directors in early-April. Once approved, the new Directors will take office on September 1, 2021.
- Calibre CPA Group audited NAPFA’s 2019-20 fiscal year-end financial statements. The auditors reported that the year-end financials were sound and free from material misstatements. The audited financial statements and annual tax filing are posted to the website for member review.
- NAPFA joined other fiduciary and investor advocacy groups in opposing the DOL Investment Advice Rule. The rule’s Impartial Conduct Standards closely follow, and are intended to dovetail with, SEC Regulation Best Interest (Reg BI). Modifying regulations that allow “…financial advisors to prioritize their self-interest over their clients’ financial wellbeing…” was part of the 2020 Democratic party platform. Vice President Harris was one of the signatories to an August 2020 letter from Congressional Democrats criticizing both the investment advice proposal and the DOL’s refusal to appeal the Fifth Circuit’s 2018 decision vacating the 2016 DOL Fiduciary Rule, which was more protective of retirement investors and less accommodating to the financial services industry. We expect the Biden Administration will review and propose changes to SEC Reg BI. We look forward to engaging with the DOL to reverse these harmful rules.
- NAPFA and other working group members continued efforts “to restore and expand” the Federal tax deduction for professional investment and financial planning advice that was repealed by the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. This initiative provides an opportunity to elevate awareness about NAPFA, the financial planning profession and financial planning generally. The working group has been active on Capitol Hill, focusing primarily on Members of the House Ways & Means and House Financial Services Committees and their staffs. Comments from potential sponsors and staff have been productive.
- In addition to these efforts, the Public Policy Committee continued its work of monitoring legislative and regulatory issues at all levels of government. The committee continues to provide valuable insight to help inform NAPFA’s positions on matters facing the organization’s constituents, such as the state-level CE requirements for IARs, restrictions on non-traditional fee models, and professional certification regulations.
Membership and Programs
- Through the end of February, membership is up 6.5% year-over-year and is on a positive trajectory at 4,076 members. As the association continues to grow and prepare for the future, we need to refine our focus so that we do not rely only on what got us here. For these reasons, the Board and membership committee are focused on Awareness & Acquisition and Engagement & Connectedness. The organization has much to offer current and future financial planning professionals and we feel that this focus will further sustain the growth we’ve experienced over the last few years. We see this as an investment in NAPFA’s future. NAPFA’s Conversation Circles and MIX Groups are excellent examples of the membership committee’s focus on Engagement & Connectedness.
- As part of the Diversity and Inclusion Initiative, we’ve compiled a toolkit to help drive change in the D, E, & I space. While conversations and education around D, E, & I is a crucial step to improving understanding, it's clear that without action, true progress cannot be achieved. This toolkit has both a written guide and a series of short videos designed to help NAPFA members take action and access resources.
- We were also happy to support the BLatinX Internship Program (BLX) developed by a group of our peers. The eight-week program was initiated to increase diversity and representation in the financial planning industry in the wake of George Floyd’s death and in the spirit of the Black Lives Matter movement. We want to acknowledge the program’s co-founders Emlen Miles-Mattingly, Chloe Moore, Luis Rosa, and Shawn Tydlaska for their vision and focus on the future.
- NAPFA renewed its relationship with LLIS as the presenting partner of NAPFA Genesis and launched a new partnership with Allianz. These firms share our commitment to ensuring NAPFA is the leading professional association for Fee-only financial advisors and we look forward to collaborating in 2021.
Professional Development & Education
- NAPFA education and program offerings continue to provide compelling and timely professional development. In October, NAPFA hosted a successful virtual Fall National Conference. The conference offered relevant live and on-demand educational content from leading subject matter experts. We’d like to thank Jaime Ruff, Todd Hall, Mike Kurz, Barbara Ristow, and Kara Beth Vance for their service on the conference program committee.
- NAPFA volunteers and staff continued the planning process for the 2021 national conference series. Bob Morrison and Katie Horton are chairing these events on behalf of the member community. The blueprint for the 2021 national conference series builds on our recent successes and are slated to provide the valuable educational experiences that members have come to expect from NAPFA. The Fall 2021 Conference in Boston should mark a return of the in-person conference experience for NAPFA.
- The 2021 Playbook Series continues to be an important and valuable undertaking for the association that touches a significant portion of the membership. For this year, we expanded the series’ focus beyond marketing and added a podcast to supplement the learning opportunities. We encourage you to take advantage of the valuable content offered through these programs and share them within your firms.
- NAPFA regions continue to contribute meaningful learning and development opportunities available for members. The South region recently hosted a program with Morgan Housel, author of the Psychology of Money. The Midwest region engaged former NBA player and CFP® professional Lawrence Funderburke for a program on Sociopsychonomics™ that was well received by participants. The West region held a virtual installment of their annual Symposium that included sessions on planning for unmarried couples, incorporating college planning into your practice, and managing a retirement withdrawal plan. The Board appreciates all of these efforts by regional volunteer leaders.
- The association released four additional installments of its Mindset Mastery podcast series that included guests like Kate Healy, John Bowen, and Michael Kitces. Our podcast series delivers motivational insights and actionable advice from a "who's who list" of professionals in the RIA community as well as respected fiduciary financial planners who are accomplishing great things as they master their own mindset.
We’d love to hear your ideas on how we can better mobilize this community and advance fee-only planning in 2021 and beyond. Should you have any questions or comments concerning this update, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Together, we can make the greatest impact on the future of our profession.
2020-21 NAPFA Board of Directors
Lydia Sheckels, Chair
Karla McAvoy, Chair-elect
Jeff Jones, Secretary-Treasurer
Dr. Kristy Archuleta, Consumer Representative Director
Sunit Bhalla, Director
Wendy Hartman, Director
Amy Irvine, Director
Anjali Jariwala, Director
Daphne Jordan, Director
Kristen Moosmiller, Director
Danielle Seurkamp, Director