Chris Lakumb interviews the FPASF chapter Advocacy representative and next year’s President of FPA of California, Alice King……….
You have an interesting background, Alice. I see from reading your bio, you are a former attorney. How did you get involved with financial planning, and ultimately the FPA?
I was raised in New Orleans, and my mother was still living there when Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005. I spent a lot of time assisting my mom in getting her affairs together as she “relocated” from New Orleans to Texas. As I dove into various parts of her financial picture (estate planning, taxes, real estate, investments, etc.), it became clear to me that she could have benefitted from professional, independent financial guidance. I assumed there were countless others who probably needed significant amounts of help in organizing their financial affairs as well, especially as it relates to investment advice. In most cases, these are smart people, they just haven’t had a lot of “financial” education, and therefore could benefit from having an advocate.
I had retired from practicing law, and decided to pursue the CFP curriculum which I started in 2007, passing the exam in the Fall of 2008. From there, I started attending a lot of the FPA of San Francisco chapter meetings, networking events, etc. This culminated in starting my own financial planning practice, Wine Country Wealth Management.
Shifting gears, you are the President-Elect for the FPA of California which is a relatively new organization. Will you please tell us more about the FPA of CA, their role, how they use the $10 paid by FPA members in California, and how the FPA interacts with each of the local FPA chapters in California?
You are correct, the FPA of CA is a relatively new organization. We are essentially in our third year of operation. The FPA of CA consists of one representative of each of the 13 local FPA California chapters, plus five executive committee members (Chair, President, President-Elect, Treasurer, and Secretary).
Our role is to be an advocate on behalf of our members and their clients regarding issues that impact our clients’ financial success and the financial planning profession. In addition, FPA of CA seeks to be a resource for California’s elected and appointed officials, offering an informed, professional perspective on legislative and regulatory issues. We are also a mouthpiece for our members as it relates to dealing with allied professional associations (e.g. the CalCPA and the CFP Board). Simply put, we want to be the main voice for the profession communicating with the legislators, regulators, and allied associations in California.
The $10 dues that each FPA member in California pays to the FPA of CA helps offset our basic administrative fees as well as to supplement travel expenses to various, advocacy-related events. A recent example is FPA of California’s Advocacy Day taking place in Sacramento on March 3, 2015. We will be meeting with state regulators, legislators, and statewide officeholders to ensure they are well versed on our members’ position towards some of the “hot topics” of the day.
Our “official” interaction is driven by the representative of each local chapter who is a member of the FPA of California. As previously mentioned, in addition to the five members of the Executive Committee (who are also members of local, California FPA chapters), each of the 13 local FPA chapters has a representative (in most cases a board position at the local chapter level) in the FPA of California.
Can you please elaborate on the “hot topics” you mention above?
There are four things we are focused on at this time:
- Imposing a Fiduciary Standard for all brokers/advisors giving investment advice to retail clients
- Appropriate oversight of investment advisors, including increasing audits to protect the public
- Appropriate regulation of financial planners as a profession akin to accountants, lawyers, etc.
4) Opposition to a current state bill (SB 8) that proposes a sales tax on “services” such as those provided by professionals such as financial planners
It is my belief that many of the issues that affect the daily lives of financial planners (and therefore our clients) are going to be addressed at the State level as opposed to the Federal level, which makes our local advocacy efforts extremely important.
Besides paying the $10 dues to the FPA of CA, what can other California-based FPA members do to aid the advocacy process?
Contact your chapter’s representative to FPA of CA (usually an “Advocacy” or “Government Relations” position on the Board) for ways you can get involved, join us at our next “Advocacy Day” in Sacramento, and stay tuned for more updates from our “email blasts” on legislative and regulatory issues.
Where can FPA members learn more about the FPA of California?
We are still working on our website, but it should be up and running soon now that we have some relevant content to post. The URL will be http://fpaca.org/. You can also send an e-mail for more information, or with questions, to email@example.com.
We always like to get a little “personal” in these interviews, therefore on a lighter note, have you read any good books lately, or is there a book that stands out as one that most influenced you?
I would say the book that has most influenced me is “To Kill A Mockingbird.” It taught me the importance of making a positive difference in the world – even if what you are doing is viewed as unpopular.
What is one of your daily habits, rituals, etc. that you attribute to your success?
Maintaining a work/life balance has been a key driver of my success (especially as it relates to maintaining my sanity!). Immersing myself in a couple of hobbies such as ballet dancing and learning Italian helps me to recharge the batteries.