Financial Planning Association (FPA)'s annual conference and exposition is the single largest concentrated gathering of financial planning professionals in the world. Around 3000 delegates participate every year in this mammoth get-together held in various cities of United States year on year. There has been a good participation from India over the last 5 years, with 16 delegates attending the conference held in 2011 in San Diego, USA.
I am writing a post on this topic for those of you who might want to consider attending this year’s conference which is being held in San Antonio (Texas) from September 29-October 2, 2012 spread across four days. Network FP would also be organizing a Study Tour comprising of exclusive workshops with thought leaders and meetings with established financial planners in US prior to the conference on September 27-28 at an additional fees.
In this post I will share with you the structure of conference, what to expect, how to make the best use of the opportunity, who should be attending it, what are costs associated and how to register.
Financial Planning Association (FPA) is the largest membership body in USA for financial planners with more than 30,000 members mostly who are CFP Professionals and 100 local chapters spread across country. FPA promotes financial planning profession in the country through its various activities like conferences, training programs, publications, research and advocacy.
The membership body also has a global orientation and lot to offer for international delegates especially through its international membership programs & conferences.
Annual Conference Structure
FPA’s flagship offering is its Annual Conference held each year during September-October months. It’s a one-stop-resource-shop that provides high-quality education that spans learning needs, delivering both the breadth and depth of topical areas of Financial Planning.
The conference is attended by both independent financial planners and representatives from wealth management & financial planning companies & well represented by international delegates.
The conference is spread across 4 days. It starts in the afternoon on the first day and ends by noon on the fourth day. The conference format is very diverse giving learning & networking experience through various formats as follows;
This is the main highlight of the event. There are over a 100 educational workshops hosted during 4 power packed days. There are usually 3-6 sessions held simultaneously and you have to decide which ONE to attend among those. So you will be able to attend not more than 15-20 educational tracks of the 100 offered. The tracks are under the following broad categories which FPA calls Competencies;
- Business and Practice Management
- Technical Knowledge
- Relationship Skills
- Sales and Marketing
- Communication Skills
- Critical Thinking
- Organizational Skills
- Human Resources Management
- Leadership Skills
Further the topics are closely associated with the Topic list of CFP Board of Standards as under;
- General Principles of Financial Planning
- Insurance Planning & Risk Management
- Employee Benefits Planning
- Investment Planning
- Income Tax Planning
- Retirement Planning
- Estate Planning
- Client Trust & Communication
So there is plenty on plate to chew, only if you are alert & do your homework well in choosing the sessions, can you make the best from the conference. You have to look at what would be relevant for you in your practice.
If you are going along with some of other delegates from India, then you can maximize your learning by attending different sessions and exchanging ideas at the end of the day. Also the handouts of the conference are made available at the venue for you to take print out, so you can always refer to the notes, but of course this will not give you the interactive experience that's possible being with trainer/speaker.
This is another important attraction of the conference. With over 100 exhibiting companies trying to woo financial planners, there is something to learn from each of the concept or product demos at each stall. The companies are from various areas like consultants for financial advisors, financial planning softwares, education & training providers, broker dealers offering platforms for IFAs & IFPs, publications, research companies etc.
There is also a bookstore of all the possible books available in the area of financial planning. You will not get to see so many books on FP at one place. Keep around Rs. 10,000 budget if want to pick up some real good books on FP. Or just flip through them for couple of hours during the event.
There is also a pavilion of FPA itself showcasing its publications, research products, membership, training programs along with a virtual learning centre (VLC). You can also attend these VLCs on various subjects during the breaks.
Many of the participants are old-timers and mainly come here for networking. In fact this can be a main take away for you too. The conference provides many opportunities to network among the fellow delegates like during the coffee/tea breaks, lunch breaks, breaks between sessions, gala dinner program, International Reception, Closing Night Reception, Companion Programs.
You will also bump into many delegates on the streets in and around your hotel. Volunteer to initiate a chat, people love to hear from delegates from South Asian countries like China, India, Singapore, Hong Kong and fortunately we Indians enjoy a lot of attention because of our proficiency in English & also the growth story revolving our country.
What’s in for Global Delegates?
More than 80% of the attendees are from US but the remaining lot is well represented from countries all across the world like Brazil, India, China, Hong Kong, UK, Netherlands, Canada etc. There would be enough topics in the educational tracks which are of global relevance and the brochure provided will indicate such programs. Download last year’s brochure to see the kind of sessions which are held and also the program schedule. This year’s brochure is still not out.
An International Reception is also hosted by FPA for all the global attendees… its one of the best places to catch up with people from across countries. And there would also be a session on global developments in financial planning.
India is well represented at FPA Conferences. Apart from a sizable delegation going year on year from India, Financial Planners from India like Mr. Gaurav Mashruwala & Mr. Devang Shah have chaired the Global Advisory Council of FPA, a very coveted position. Currently Mr. Partha Iyengar represents India in the Global Advisory Council. Vivek Rege, Kartik Jhaveri, Vishal Dhawan and I are part of Asia-Pacific Geo Focus Group for the year 2012.
Who should attend?
Attending this conference is an experience in itself for someone who is very passionate about this profession. This is where one can breathe, eat, drink and sleep Financial Planning. But there is a big investment involved in attending conferences in USA. So plan to participate in this events only if;
- You are planning to get into Financial Planning in a serious way. Determine to recover the costs within one year solely from Financial Planning Services.
- You are already a Successful Financial Planner.
- You have some other business engagements i.e. meet up with existing & prospective clients
- You have some personal commitments i.e. friends & family to meet
- Planning for family vacations, so you can combine it with this trip
- For corporate employees – if your company is willing to sponsor the trip
Total costs would come to around Rs. 1,50,000 plus as per the break up below. These are the bare minimum costs if you are only attending the study tour and conference.
|Sr. No.||Particulars / Cost Heads||Approx Costs in Rupees||Approx Costs in Dollars|
|1||Return Airfare to San Diego||Rs. 70,000||$1,273|
|2||Hotel Stay for 6 Nights (sharing)||Rs. 15,000||$273|
|3||FPA Conference Registration Fee||Rs. 33,000||$600|
|4||Network FP Study Tour Fees||Rs. 18,000||$327|
|5||Daily Allowance & Miscelleneous||Rs. 16,500||$300|
|Total Costs||Rs. 1,52,500||$2,773|
*Exchange Rate 1 USD = 55 INR
* US Visa Application Fees of USD 160/Rs. 9,280 not included.
Network FP Study Tour in San Antonio
Network FP successfully organized its first study tour in San Diego last year and will once again organize educational activities for delegates attending FPA Annual Conference and interested in additional activities. The following are the benefits/ activities which will be part of the study tour;
|S. No.||Benefits / Activities|
|1||Group Discount on FPA Conference Fees (upto USD 100)|
|2||Orientation, Guidance & Visa letter for First-timers|
|3||Pre-Conference Networking Meet in Mumbai|
|4||Hotel Group Booking Co-ordination & Stay Together|
|5||2 Exlcusive Workshops with FP Thought Leaders in US|
|6||2 Meetings/Visits to Established Financial Planners Offices|
|7||Daily Evening Knowledge Exchange Meets among delegates|
|8||Post-Conference Review Meet in Mumbai|
- All travel costs will be borne by the delegates during the 2 Day Study Tour Program
- If any additional costs are incurred to arrange the 2 day program, the same will be collected from the participating delegates
- Delegates will be free to make their own stay arrangements
Kindly contact Sadique Neelgund on 9867209208 / firstname.lastname@example.org for further information and registration process.