Last month, the CFP Board of Standards released updated guidelines for the work experience requirement for the CFP® certification - essentially creating a ‘fast track’ to certification by reducing the experience requirement from three years down to two years if candidates for CFP® certification (new planners) work under a CFP® certificant and personally deliver all parts of the personal financial planning process to a client. You can click here http://bit.ly/CFPboard2yrs to read the full press release and details. In this month’s post, we will look at what firm owners need to do to integrate their new planner into the six step process to help ensure that CFP® certification can be gained in two years.
The competition for top talent will certainly become even more intense as candidates bypass these “3 years to certification” positions and instead opt for the “2 years to certification” positions. Here are some ideas on what firm owners should be offering in order to not get passed up by the next generation of financial planners.
Step 1: Establishing and Defining the Relationship with the Client (Initial client contact/meeting) -Have your new planner observe you as you respond to a prospective client email inquiry, listen in as you discuss your services to a prospect via phone, and finally include your new planner when these prospects come in for their initial in-person meeting. Assuming your new planner has the confidence and has proved themselves, decide beforehand on an area where the new planner can lead the discussion, with your oversight, in this integral session. If you have hired your new planner to handle the heavy lifting of the initial planning process, an obvious one is walking the prospective client through the firm’s planning process flowchart. This not only satisfies the “personal delivery” aspect, but also builds your new planner’s confidence and positions them correctly in the eyes of the client from the onset of the relationship.
Step 2: Gathering Client Data Including Goals (Data Gathering/Discovery meeting) – Once your new planner has spent some time observing you working with the clients to ascertain their goals and gather the information for the initial plan, this becomes an obvious place for them to take a leading role. If the new planner is responsible for completing the financial plan, they should be able to interact directly with the client to gather the information. In this data gathering setting, they can hone their investigative and questioning skills in a usually more informal setting. I often hear new planners expressing frustration when they are asked to complete a plan, having never met the client, don’t know the goals, and were not involved in gathering the information for the initial plan construction.
Step 3: Analyzing and Evaluating the Client’s Financial Status (Draft Plan/Brainstorming session) – After the data is gathered, goals agreed upon, etc., empower your new planner to lean on their educational background to review the situation and uncover the potential problem areas and propose preliminary solutions. The new planner, with your assistance, should also try to anticipate what final plan scenarios the client might want to see. Some examples might be selling a business at different times and different prices, various retirement dates, various portfolio returns, different levels of income and expenses. If the new planner knows your planning software well enough, one idea to get the client truly engaged in the planning process is to let the client express what scenarios they want to see and allow the new planner to make the adjustments right in front of the client so the impact can be seen real time. If done well, there are many psychological benefits to this as well as getting clients to take action, own decisions, and become accountable, but that is beyond the scope of this article.
Stay tuned for next month’s post on ideas for structuring the remaining three steps of the financial planning process.
- Check out our new website! www.newplannerrecruiting.com
- Michael was featured in the April issue of Journal of Financial Planning http://www.fpanet.org/journal/?vm=r
- Caleb will be presenting “The New Age of Professional Planners and How to Hire them Successfully” at the FPA NorCal conference on Tuesday May 29th at 10:30am PST. http://bit.ly/FPANorCal
- Michael was named Practitioner Editor to the Journal of Financial Planning http://bit.ly/KitcesFPA
- Caleb will be presenting on “Understanding the Next Generation of Financial Planners” for FPA Oregon & SW Washington on July 18th. http://bit.ly/FPAOreSwWash