By Joseph R. Stemmle
Financial Planning Association (FPA) Knowledge Circles are gathering places for like-minded planners who want to engage in dialogue about best practices and trends on particular topics.
The Knowledge Circles, very much like “sections” in law or business, allow for more in-depth examination of issues, financial planning resources, regulations, etc.
Three of the Knowledge Circles also aim to create a community within a community for Black, Latino and LGBTQ+ planners. Those three are the African American Knowledge Circle, FPA Latino and PridePlanners.
The Knowledge Circles are led by hosts, who are individuals who serve as content experts. They help guide the creation of educational programs, contribute content in the form of whitepapers and articles, and facilitate conversations on the discussion boards.
Individuals can participate in the online discussion forum, attending webinars, participating in monthly planning conversations and partaking in happy hour chats. You ultimately can participate when you want and how you want.
These are the Knowledge Circle communities you can join to connect with like-minded professionals and deeper dives financial planning topics and issues:
The African American Knowledge Circle is comprised of African American financial planners and those looking to support and elevate African American planners in the financial planning profession.
“I was the one who raised my hand and agreed to be the first host and help get it off the ground,” said Christopher Woods, CFP®, CKA®, host of the African American Knowledge Circle. “We just launched the Knowledge Circle in October of 2019 and had our first call in February of 2020.”
Woods encourages people to “join the community on the FPA website and then engage by posting or responding to relevant content on the community forum.”
The FPA Latino Knowledge Circle is a community within FPA where Latino financial planners can connect with and learn from one another.
Ana Trujillo Limón, the senior editor of FPA Publications said she, “thought there was a need for a community for Latino financial planners, akin to the community that Quad-A and PridePlanners provides. The FPA Latino Knowledge Circle was designed to serve that need.”
Limón, along with Orley Pacheco, a wealth manager at ARS Capital Advisors, worked to create FPA’s first UNITY Happy Hour with all the Knowledge Circles in June 2020. Attendees received a curated shopping list of ingredients, and then received a live demonstration by a mixologist from Fresco’s Cantina in Astoria, N.Y.
Founded in 1999 by Sharon Rich, Debra Neiman and Sandra Reynolds, PridePlanners used to be a standalone organization that provided education opportunities to financial advisors.
In 2018, PridePlanners merged with the FPA and has since become the PridePlanners Knowledge Circle. Their mission is to “provide a community where individuals can obtain information, converse, share resources, network, and discuss current events related to serving LGBTQ+ individuals and families and being an LGBTQ+ financial planner,” said Cait Howerton, MBA, AFC®, CFP®, one of the hosts of the PridePlanners Knowledge Circle.
Jim Marrocco, CFA, CFP®, another host of PridePlanners, said, “I got involved with PridePlanners because I wanted to be a part of the conversation about LGBTQ+ planning issues, meet my peers and also raise awareness of the LGBTQ+ community and it’s needs to the broader financial planning community. I know that I have a lot to learn from others. I also wanted to bring my experiences working with the community and contribute to the conversation that way too.”
International And Cross-Border
The International and Cross-Border Knowledge Circle is a community within FPA for planners who are serving clients internationally.
Jeff J. Crampton, CFA, is one of the hosts of the Knowledge Circle and has always had many cross-border clients. Jeff lived overseas for a couple of years, so he understands how it feels to be living and working in a foreign jurisdiction.
“When you start crossing borders, there are many considerations planners should take into account on behalf of their clients. The average planner will not regularly come across these issues, but they need to know financial plans need to go way beyond different currencies and cultures. Plans need to account fore different tax regimes, regulations, and products,” Crampton said.
Women And Finance
This Knowledge Circle is FPA’s oldest in terms of affinity groups. Boasting more than 1,000 members, discussions focus on how to excel as a female in a male-dominated profession and in serving female clients.
Led by Eleanor Blayney, CFP®, who previously worked with The CFP® Board’s Women Initiative, activities include book club discussions, community conversations, topical webinars, and informal mentoring within the community.
If you’re interested in networking with likeminded professionals and hearing from nationally recognized thought-leaders, consider joining one or all the Knowledge Circles.
“Getting involved with a Knowledge Circle is very important because it allows you to interact with professionals who have similar interests as you,” says Charles Adi, CFP®, chair of the FPA Diversity and Inclusion Committee. “Not only are you getting technical knowledge, you are also establishing a relationship that can benefit your career.”
To learn more contact Communities@OneFPA.org
Joey Stemmle is a financial advisor with Riverstone Wealth Advisory Group in Midlothian, Va. Joey graduated Magna Cum Laude from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) with a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance. Joey serves as the President-Elect of the Financial Planning Association (FPA) of Central VA and on the Board of Directors for the Financial Empowerment Board for the City of Richmond Treasurer’s Office. Joey also serves as the Program Director for the VCU CFP Board Registered Financial Planning Program and an adjunct instructor in the Finance Department.
FPA NexGen, a community of the Financial Planning Association® (FPA®), aims to provide support and collaboration for those professionals new to the financial planning profession. With more than 2,500 like-minded young professionals, members of FPA NexGen are ready to share their experiences and further the future of the financial planning profession. Learn more about our engaged community and join the conversation on Twitter.
Here are past NexGen columns: