Washington, D.C., September 25, 2018 – Around half of Americans have some difficulty covering monthly expenses, and only about one-third have a high degree of financial literacy, according to the most recent National Financial Capability Study. The Foundation for Financial Planning (FFP)’s mission is to address this growing issue by fostering a commitment to pro bono service within the financial planning profession, helping those who could not normally afford or access a financial planner.
“We want to see more financial planners volunteering their time and talent to help underserved people – and part of our job is to help them do that,” explained Jon Dauphiné, CEO of FFP. As part of this effort, FFP and the Financial Planning Association® (FPA®) have launched a new training program for volunteers who want to provide pro bono financial planning to vulnerable persons. FFP and FPA have teamed up with Kaplan Professional, which donated its expertise and services, to develop the new training experience. Capital Group, home of the American Funds, is underwriting the training as Presenting Sponsor.
The online-based Pro Bono Financial Planning Volunteer Training is designed to introduce Certified Financial Planner® (CFP®) professionals to basic skills and techniques related to serving modest- and low-income people who could not ordinarily access quality financial advice and planning. The course will prepare CFP® professional volunteers for pro bono engagements and, upon successful completion, the planner will receive continuing education (CE) credit.
Survey data from pro bono volunteers suggest that a lack of confidence in serving lower-income clients can be a barrier for some planners contemplating volunteer service, and this course is designed to build the skills needed to serve at-risk populations.
“We often hear from CFP® professionals who are concerned that they aren’t equipped to help pro bono clients—that the skills they use in their regular practice advising more affluent clients won’t be relevant to helping underserved people,” noted Dauphiné. “This course will provide them with the confidence they need to offer their services to vulnerable community members who could really use their expertise.”
The training was created in partnership with Kaplan Professional, which offered its services and platform in-kind. Joyce Schnur, CFP®, Senior Vice President for Kaplan Professional noted that Kaplan “has strong roots in the financial services industry,” adding that they are “well-aware of the need for this type of program to support and train financial advisers as they connect with at-risk families in their communities.”
William C. Anderson, Senior Vice President of Capital Group, the Presenting Sponsor of the effort, said, “We are especially pleased to underwrite this training course because of the direct role it will play in expanding access to and helping more people benefit from quality financial advice.” Capital Group, home of the American Funds, has supported FFP’s pro bono mission since the Foundation’s founding more than 20 years ago.
As an example, the course informs planners that asset and income tests related to public benefits the clients may be receiving can vary based on locality and other factors and should be taken into account during the engagements.
The course is free and is required by FFP and FPA for any CFP® professional who desires to provide pro bono activity that is organized or funded by those organizations. Planners who have taken a previous version of this training, the “Pro Bono Boot Camp,” are not required to take the course again; although it is recommended as the new training is more current, dynamic, and informative.
“We’re pleased to offer this new training program that will not only transform the lives of our members but also of those they serve,” says FPA Executive Director and CEO, Lauren M. Schadle, CAE. “Many FPA chapters have great pro bono programs and this training will prepare our members to contribute to this vital community service.”
There are two versions of the training available:
- One is designed for any CFP® professional and is available on the Foundation for Financial Planning’s website here.
- The second version is specially geared to FPA members and is available on FPA’s site here.
Planners who complete and pass either course will receive one CE credit that will automatically be reported to the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board). Non-CFP® professionals may also take the training, but FFP and FPA guidelines require volunteer services be provided in conjunction with a CFP® professional who provides oversight.
Financial planners who are interested in volunteering should contact their nearest FPA chapter. Non-FPA member planners can signal their interest in volunteering by completing FFP’s Volunteer Form. Interested planners will be contacted as opportunities to volunteer become available.
About the Foundation for Financial Planning
The Foundation for Financial Planning (FFP) is the nation’s only 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity solely devoted to supporting the delivery of pro bono financial planning. Since 1995, FFP has powered pro bono planning by supporting efforts that link volunteer financial planners to people in crisis or need, providing them with free, quality advice to improve their finances and their lives. Learn more about how FFP powers pro bono financial planning nationally at www.FoundationForFinancialPlanning.org.
About the Financial Planning Association
The Financial Planning Association® (FPA®) is the principal professional organization for CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM (CFP®) professionals, educators, financial services professionals and students who are committed to elevating the profession that transforms lives through the power of financial planning. Through a collaborative effort to provide members with tools and resources for professional education, business support, advocacy and community, FPA is the indispensable resource in the advancement of today’s CFP® professional. Learn more about FPA at www.OneFPA.org and follow on Twitter at twitter.com/fpassociation.
About Capital Group
Since 1931, Capital Group, home of the American Funds, has been singularly focused on delivering superior results for long-term investors using high-conviction portfolios, rigorous research and individual accountability. Today, Capital Group manages more than $1.7 trillion in equity and fixed income assets for millions of individual and institutional investors around the world. *
The Capital Group companies manage equity assets through three investment groups. These groups make investment and proxy voting decisions independently. Fixed income investment professionals provide fixed income research and investment management across the Capital organization; however, for securities with equity characteristics, they act solely on behalf of one of the three equity investment groups.
*As of December 31, 2017.
About Kaplan Professional
Kaplan delivers license exam prep, professional development, and CE programs for the insurance, securities, and financial planning industries. Through classroom training, online courses, and self-study options, Kaplan helps students pass exams and maintain licensing with study materials that satisfy almost any learning style and budget.