The Program That Will Transform the Advisory Profession

The most consequential program in the financial planning world is being ignored by those to whom it matters most – aspiring advisors and the firms that will benefit from hiring them.

Some of you might remember last year’s FPA externship, which was created by Hannah Moore and her media production-savvy husband Charlie, with the help and support of the Financial Planning Association (FPA). Skipping ahead, the FPA is offering a new externship opportunity this summer, open not only to college students, but to younger advisors who want to broaden their perspective on the profession. It is even open to high school students and non-planning-major college students who want to see what the new planning career is all about.

The deadline to register is June 1, through this link.

Last year’s externship was an emergency response to one of the many (major and minor) calamities brought on by the pandemic. With planning offices closed and everyone working remotely, thousands of planning students were suddenly locked out from participating in their summer internships. This threatened their budding careers. Interns gain real-world exposure to planning work in planning offices.

“I was consulting with the FPA on new planner initiatives,” Moore recalls, “and the pandemic hit, and the FPA was asking: What are the core needs that need to be addressed?” The various committees, including a newly formed crisis response team, were hearing from students and professors at university planning programs who lamented the loss of internship opportunities. “We hosted some student focus groups, asking: What is it that you value most from an internship experience?” says Moore. “We quickly realized that we were never going to reproduce the traditional in-depth one-on-one experience,” she adds. “But we realized that there might be a way to do most if not all of the things that the students were telling us.”

The solution was to create a virtual program – the externship – where the students were given face-to-screen exposure to prominent advisors through recorded video presentations, along with hosted office hours where the participants could interact with the advisors, and access to the deliverables that the advisory firms were giving their clients.

Each week focused on a different topic with two or three different “hosts” who lent their expertise on that topic. Week 1: Keith Beverly of Grid 202 Partners in Washington, D.C.; Katie Brewer of Your Richest Life in Rowlett, TX and Daniel Yerger, of My Wealth Planners in Longmont, CO offered tips on how they construct client portfolios. The 1,100 participants were given access to eMoney and Morningstar, and using these tools, were given the task of building 60/40 model portfolios for hypothetical clients.

Week 2: Insurance planning with Carolyn McClanahan of Life Planning Partners in Jacksonville, FL and Charles Aid, of Blueprint 360 in Houston, TX.