Throughout the 45-day comment period on the Second Iteration of the OneFPA Network Draft Plan, we provided several channels for stakeholders to provide feedback and comments. Stakeholders could opt to provide comments through the All-Member Open Forum, which is only accessible to FPA members. They could also post comments to a public comment discussion forum on this microsite, share comments during one of several virtual learning sessions, or they could provide comments via email at OneFPANetwork@OneFPA.org.
What follows are comments collected via email on both the Second Iteration of the OneFPA Network Draft Plan and the Draft OneFPA Network Beta-Test Application Package. Prior to posting, we asked those sharing comments if they would allow us to make their comments available for public viewing.
July 1, 2019
FPA of New Jersey - Summary Feedback on Draft OneFPA Network Beta-Test Application Package
FPA NJ continues to be appreciative of how this process has been managed and commends FPA National staff and volunteer leadership for its continued efforts. The comments below are representative of FPA of New Jersey's (FPA NJ) Board of Directors.
Master Services Agreement:
Guiding Principles & Commitments
While it is noted that National is responsible for membership recruitment and retention, the chapter’s role in this process should be clearly articulated as a cohesive process.
As it relates to determining “...what aspects of the beta-test results need to be included, altered or rejected,” will beta-test chapters be part of that decision making process?
Consider the following additions to FPA Headquarters’ responsibilities:
Provide the chapter with accountability on the chapter executive time/activity and other staff performance
Develop a chapter operations handbook with best practices and roles and responsibilities
Provide timely feedback/responses to chapter inquiries
With regard to the chapter executive role, whom do they technically report to and where do their loyalties/alliances lie if there is operational conflict? How will issues in this area be addressed during the beta-testing phase?
A clear delineation of what responsibilities the chapter executive has to the Chapter versus Headquarters is outlined up front including who has overall decision-making responsibility on performance evaluations and compensation to avoid potential conflicts throughout the beta-testing phase
There should be added clarity about if more than 8 hours of the chapter executive’s time is required each week for the beta-testing phase. A minimum of 8 hours is stated, but not a maximum.
Consider the following addition to FPA Headquarters’ responsibilities:
Provide timely feedback/responses to chapter inquiries
Centralized Accounting and Financial Reporting
Consider the following additions to the Chapter responsibilities:
Add complimentary activities for local member recruitment and retention to chapter responsibilities
Continue to promote local chapter events, accomplishments and advocacy to local membership and public via local FPA website and media
Other support considerations:
- Marketing Support – are there other ways that National can support local marketing activities by providing access to digital assets, the creation of newsletter templates, identification of images, etc.?
CE Administration Support – are there other ways that National can support the process of CE administration such as in submitting for session credit, managing a platform for attendee credits, etc.?
Customer Service Support – are there ways that the centralized customer service team can somehow support/alleviate local activities via email and/or phone in a response chain?
Key Performance Indicators
Consider adding 3-5 clearly stated objectives that sit under the strategic goals already stated. Some examples to consider:
Grow membership (by a minimum of 4% year over year)
Increase membership retention (by a minimum of 3% year over year)
Raise the profile of the CFP credential (measured by an increase in net promoter score)
The addition of stated objectives will create better context for the KPIs.
- Quantifying the goal of each KPI is needed as a means to measure success
The addition of tracking sponsor dollars secured at the national and local level should be added as a KPI to ensure there is a review of how this might change at each level via the beta-testing phase.
The addition of KPIs on Diversity and Inclusiveness (e.g., people of color, women and LBGTQ) should be added where NexGen KPIs are illustrated
We would like to raise one final point related to a chapter's ability to revert back from the beta-testing phase and that National will assist in this process. There should be more details around how this would take place. For example:
- Can a chapter revert back prior to the completion of the 2-year beta-process period? Is there a minimum time before the request can be made?
When a request is made, does National have a defined period to address stated issues, such as a 60 or 90-day cure period?
Assuming issues are not rectified, is there a defined transitional period where steps would be taken to revert back to the previous operational status such as a 90-day period?
What steps would take place, specifically, to unwind technology and staffing?
In conclusion, FPA NJ continues to support the overarching principles of the OneFPA Initiative and appreciates the continued collaboration to achieve a mutually agreeable transition process.
FPA of New Jersey Board of Directors
June 28, 2019
Members of our board met recently on this and had the following questions. Many thanks and have a wonderful weekend!
Can you please share examples of the organizations you referenced in the preamble of the Master Services Agreement that had the well established model in the private sector, what that model is, and the associations that have successfully adopted it?
We would again suggest placing the Beta testing on hold until the technology is successfully implemented. Treat it as phase one of the testing. Any possibility of narrowing it down to just technology for the next year?
Have you had conversations with successful chapters to see what works and could be shared with other chapters, vs jumping right into the new "OneFPA." In other words, chapter mentorship programs, more resources, study groups, etc. vs the approach currently being taken.
In the event Beta testing moves forward, will there be control groups? If so, we would be interested in learning more about the control groups and possibly participating as a control group.
What will the training for chapter execs participating in the Beta testing consist of?
If we are not a Beta chapter, can we still get access to the accounting codes the beta chapters will be using?
FPA of Dallas/Ft. Worth Board of Directors
June 20, 2019
Our FPA of the Triangle Board members are drilling down further into the needs of Beta Test participants, so we can get a unanimous vote to participate.
Our largest issue now stands with the additional time and cost of the Chapter Executive, which is not currently included in our contract with the Management Company the Executive works through.
The 8 hours per month (estimate) over a 2 years period could potentially add 50% to our current Chapter Executive cost. This was based on what the Management Company told us in a meeting we had recently about the scope of our 2020 contract.
Are you seeing similar questions about Beta Test cost of Chapter Executives from other chapters?
Do you feel the 8 hours a month is a good estimate, or could it be a higher number?
Our assumption was that the Chapter Executive would not become a part of National Staff until after the Beta Test was completed.
Our excitement of being a part of the Beta Test is now tempered by the extra cost we would need to shell out over the next 2 years.
FPA of the Triangle Board of Directors
June 5, 2019
After reading the beta-test draft materials, I have three questions:
It was previously discussed that all chapter executives will become national staff as of 1/2020. Is that still the case?
The draft materials state that chapter executives will be involved “up to a MINIMUM of 8 hours/month.” Do you mean maximum? Or could the number increase from 8?
If chapters are responsible for paying the chapter exec’s wages during the beta test for the extra monthly hours plus additional training in Denver, how can we estimate what kind of total we would need to plan on?
Thank you for any information you can provide.
FPA Chapter Executive
June 5, 2019
After review of the documents provided, our chapter only has a minor change to recommend:
We believe there should be 2 Interview Participants identified by any chapter that send in an application.
Other than that, everything else is very good.
Wayne Tillman, CRPC®
FPA of the Triangle
June 4, 2019
I’m on the board of the Central Florida FPA chapter. I think the revised plan is a better strategy…allowing a few chapters to choose to become test cases for the new plan. But no matter the results of the test case over the next two years, I don’t think any chapter should be required to go with the new plan. Our chapter is very successful and the prior proposed plan would have a negative effect on the operation and ongoing viability of our chapter.
May 30, 2019
The Board of Directors for the Ventura County Chapter of the Financial Planning Association (FPAVC) has the following response to FPA National’s “Second Iteration of the OneFPANetwork” plan.
We believe that neither the original OneFPANetwork proposal, nor the current, somewhat watered down version truly addresses the key concerns of the individual chapters as first highlighted in the consultant's report - Concerns that still exist today, 5 years after that report was first submitted. Those concerns:
Chapter Voice / National vs Chapters - Cooperation rather than competition
Technology Resources Modernized
Collaboration among FPA and its Communities
Put bluntly, the OneFPANetwork appears to be a solution that is in a desperate search for a problem. We need Denver leadership to reexamine the four issues and offer a solution that involves cooperation, collaboration, and transparency, and does not infringe upon chapter autonomy. Furthermore, this solution should include written, specific goals, objectives and timelines.
Both versions of the OneFPA Network eventually envision an organization with power and money concentrated with “Denver” that usurps the autonomy of the individual chapters. This is the complete antithesis of what the chapters need and want.
The idea of conducting a Beta test of the OneFPA Network using a few chapters is premature. It still presupposes that the OneFPA vision to eventually dismantle the chapters’ legal status and implement centralization is the answer. It may not be!
The OneFPA Network is a concept that the chapters never requested nor indicated that they are interested in. And it may certainly not be the solution to strengthening the viability of FPA as a whole.
Denver should abandon the OneFPA Network idea for now and go back to the basic chapter requests as determined 5 years ago. Those problems still exist, and OneFPA Network should not be the only path considered. Denver should recognize this fact given all the chapter “pushback” which they received in emails and during the recent “listening tour”.
The Beta test should be postponed for now and the money should, instead, be used to address these four issues. As potential solutions are found, communicate them to the FPA community so that we can offer any insights as to the viability of the action. If there are Chapters requiring assistance, then national leadership can offer that at a cost.
There is also a great need for “Transparency” on Denver’s part. Transparency, accountability, and truthful communication build trust between partners. And indeed, FPA National (Denver) and the individual chapters are partners in our common growth and survival.
There should be no surprise announcements or decisions, no fait accompli. Results of various efforts should be forthrightly communicated to the chapters in a timely manner. Feedback from the chapters at all points in a project should be encouraged. There should be no surprises from Denver on issues affecting the chapters.
It is challenging for the individual Chapters to flourish without a strong and uniting national leadership team. We understand the need for strong national leadership and are in no way dismissing that need. The bottom line is that we need each other. We need to have a symbiotic relationship. Our desire is that the FPA organization live, grow, and flourish. For these reasons, we are putting forth our thoughts as they relate to the OneFPA Network. If either group fails to understand the need for cooperation, we will fail as an organization. No one wants that!
Financial Planning Association of Ventura County
May 24, 2019
Thank you for offering the Second Iteration of the OneFPA Network Draft Plan. The information was very helpful.
I didn’t catch the website to send comments, so I would appreciate it if you would pass this along, or feel free to respond if you would prefer.
I would like to make sure that I understand the end-game. It sounds like, at this juncture, you are gathering information from the chapters via the beta testing that will be taking place within the next year. Is the purpose of that to accumulate the data and share it with the chapters, so that they will benefit from each other’s expertise, and share best practices? If so, I think that is a great goal.
Is there a second level of integration, that will involve the chapters combining as one? That was eliminated, right? We will keep our treasury and be in control of our local chapter, correct? Is there any consolidation or sharing of funds involved?
Our Central New York Chapter has been in place for approximately 20 years. We were originally a part of a much larger Rochester chapter, of which I am a past President. Our Central New York Chapter has a dedicated group of professionals that do a great job of planning and implementing our monthly meetings from September through May, and our annual meeting in June. The sponsors pay for lunch. Our dues are very reasonable, and we have a loyal following. In short, I believe that our Chapter is working well. Having said that, there may be struggling chapters that can benefit from changing the landscape. We can all learn from each other.
I greatly appreciate the opportunity to share my thoughts.
Grace B. Ghezzi, CPA/PFS/CFF, CFP®, CFE, AEP®
May 30, 2019
On behalf of myself and chapter leaders of the Alliance Forum chapters, I offer the following observations:
Second Iteration of the OneFPA Network Draft Plan - observations during the comment period.
On the whole, because the revisions are so responsive, the observations that follow are more in the weeds. The Second Iteration certainly reflects a responsiveness to chapter leader concerns.
A. Structure of Participatory Governance:
“Potentially, designees from others key FPA committees or communities may be added based on future analysis and recommendations by the OneFPA Advisory Council.” - recommendation - any additional constituencies considered for addition to OneFPA Advisory Council should be subject to a ratifying vote of the OneFPA Advisory Council for approval.
It might be wise to state outright that chapters are expected to select whomever they deem appropriate to represent their interests at the OneFPA Advisory Council.
It seems evident, however, it may be wise to reiterate that all chapters, not strictly betas, are expected to send a representative to the OneFPA Advisory Council.
Constitution of the OneFPA Advisory Council Executive Committee has been clearly identified from the perspective of representation from varying chapter sizes (i.e., large = 3, mid = 2, small = 1) and NexGen. What remains unclear is how will these representatives be selected to represent their respective constituencies? (i.e., there may need to be a meeting of the large chapter caucus to select their three representatives, and so on for each grouping’s selected representatives to the Executive Committee).
You’ve stated that the council itself will need to determine the length of the term of the Executive Committee members. Once defined, it should also be stated as to the anticipated term of the chapter delegate representative.
As much is appropriate for the OneFPA Advisory Council Executive Committee to collaborate with the FPA Board of Directors as to what may be worthy topics of discussion and priority for the Council agenda, it should be for the Council itself to define its priorities for that agenda.
It is presumed that membership on the Nominating Committee which is representing chapter leaders will be selected by the OneFPA Advisory Council. This is implied but not clearly stated.
B. Beta-Testing Centralized Functionality
When milestones and KPI’s are established for beta chapter assessments, it is suggested that if clearly defined non-beta chapters may voluntarily track and/or share such data to better assist in the comparative assessment of the beta chapter process.
There is a concern that beta volunteers by nature may be a self-selecting group who may most benefit from the assistance derived from national engagement. To that end, all the more it is desirable to encourage aspects of KPI tracking, where possible, be encouraged to include non-beta chapters to provide a wider pool of data points for comparison.
In the creation of committees (i.e., OneFPA Resource Coordination, OneFPA Strategic Partnerships, & OneFPA Leadership Institute), because part of the role of these committees will be to “assess the progress of centralized functionality”, it is urged that the composition of these committees be materially represented by non-beta participating chapters in order to keep the assessment neutral related than influences by a self-selected group who may be predisposed to find greater benefit from the assistance of HQ.
At the conclusion of the beta test period, it is recommended to have a cooling off period for delivery of assessment results prior to immediately moving toward the next phase of determination of how best to progress for the future of the association.
It is stated that chapter leaders have hiring and firing control of chapter executives. It is conceivable that although a chapter opts to move away from a chapter executive, national may consider repurposing that CE because of the investment made in their training. Please resist this impulse. It would be corrosive to HQ’s relations with chapters.
Please share things like a recommended chart of accounts & other data points being sought to track.
C. Commitments and Agreements
Please share the Master Service Agreement as soon as possible to permit chapters considering the beta option to have sufficient time to evaluate the impact and meaning of the revised terms.
D. Communication and Timing
No additional comments on this section.
J. Christopher Boyd, CFP®, CASL®
May 30, 2019
First and foremost, we commend and thank the staff and volunteer leadership of FPA National for their tireless efforts and accommodations made based on the listening tour. Similarly, we appreciate this opportunity to provide feedback on the second iteration of the OneFPA Network draft plan. The comments below are representative of FPA of New Jersey's (FPA NJ) Board of Directors.
FPA of NJ's Board of Directors believe that a review of the noted Master Services Agreement (MSA) is necessary to provide comprehensive feedback on the OneFPA Network.
Details expected within the MSA would include, but not be limited to:
Specific timing and description of reports for evaluating progress of beta testing against KPIs
Specific operational additions and/or adjustments to be made at National to support beta-chapters;
Confirmation of where responsibility lies for oversight and accountability of the centralized functionality;
Recourse for chapters if service levels are not met; and
Expectations of chapter legal entity status post beta-test.
We are in favor of the Advisory Council, however, we do have concern over the sheer size of the committee. We strongly recommend that the Advisory Council be reduced to ensure effective and efficient communication and outcomes.
Some examples of reduction strategies may include:
Regional representatives on the Advisory Council with sub-committees that have Chapter representation that role up into the regional representatives; or
A representative on the Advisory Council for each State.
Finally, we would like to understand FPA National's perspective on what success looks like for the individual FPA local member. In other words, if five years from now things have progressed successfully, and all of the benefits expected at the National level have been realized, in what specific ways will local members see tangible value?
In conclusion, FPA NJ continues to support the overarching principles of the OneFPA Initiative, however, it feels it is necessary to continue to define details around the proposed transition process.
Thank you for this opportunity and please do not hesitate to reach out if you would like to discuss any of FPA NJ's comments in more detail.
Lisa Casciaro, CPA, CFP®
FPA of New Jersey
May 13, 2019
The FPA already brings together more than 200 chapter leaders to its annual Chapter Leaders Conference in Denver since FPA’s founding. How is that not providing a forum for input on how to serve FPA’s membership? What is it about the new OneFPA Advisory Council of nearly 100 chapter leaders providing feedback in Denver every fall that will automatically make it a better mechanism than already gathering more than 200 chapters leaders in Denver every fall? The same opportunity for feedback is already present. FPA doesn’t appear to have any actual plan for why or how the OneFPA Advisory Council will be any better of a feedback mechanism than its existing Chapter Leaders Conference.
The actual Master Services Agreement with Chapters has not yet been released for public comment or review. What are we to review or comment about? That FPA has spent time and energy to give the perception of listening, made some small rollout tweaks and did not provide significant material changes other than a Beta Test and not nationalizing chapters at this time.
Everything I’ve read does not improve Governance by the Board for implementation by Staff to the benefit of the members. The hired governance consultants either didn’t provide any substantive help or their ideas weren’t heard and properly implemented.
When issues of organizational value arise the question can be asked, “What empty hole or vacuum would occur if FPA didn’t exist?” Better professional education can be attained from other places by a variety of methods. Financial planning professionals can get together at local or regional meetings for networking and comradery. National and State initiatives to bring about a recognized profession of financial planning does not appear to be coming from FPA with any success. Where it doesn’t appear the world would miss the Financial Planning Association then it must be asked “why does the FPA exist?” If that cannot be answered and implemented in a compelling way then the answer may be self-evident. From my one perspective, I’ve been receiving less and less value from FPA. I can always vote with my feet, my membership dues and attendance at conferences. The financial planning industry is seeking organizational leadership to grow our profession. It will move on to somewhere else if that servant leadership isn’t provided by FPA.
David Strege, CFP®, CFA, CKA®
May 7, 2019
While I have been an active listener since the announcements at CLC (2018), I have to say that there has been a ton of effort and hand-wringing over the changing organizational structure, which I understand is going to be a lot, but little of specifics on the "what's in it for me" or more appropriately...what's in it for the individual Chapters?
I want to believe we are doing this for the greater good and that we (organization) feel that we need to make these changes to get there. I also place great trust in those steering this initiative, as they certainly have little reason to put themselves through so much undeserved skepticism and criticism. But I would really like to hear some more concrete descriptions of what will be the great benefits of these significant changes to get us to that great vision.
I must also express concerns, as others have in the past, on whether all of the players in the national organization are capable of supporting these changes and what evidence is there to provide greater confidence that this in fact true.
It does not appear that changing the accounting, employment or legal entity structure would have a direct effect on the organization's ability to garner more members or communicate our mission more effectively.
Hope to hear more soon.
FPA Orange County
May 7, 2019
The second iteration is far less damaging than the first in that at least it does not call for the hostile takeover of the local chapters. I still have strong reservations as to the overall effort to transform the FPA into a more centralized organization. It’s great strength has always been that it was and is a grass roots organization. National should focus more on supporting the local chapters and less on directing them. With that said, this is a vast improvement over the earlier version in that, at least, it does not blow up the local chapters and involvement is now voluntary. Let those chapters who want to participate. No problem with that.
Now, when can we in New York have our chapter back?
David Mendels, CFP®
May 7, 2019
The new proposal is an improvement as it no longer inflicts the destruction of the individual Chapter. After that, I do not know what to think.
First, it refers to a slightly modified version of the Chapter destruction (it includes options instead of mandates) and refers to that as the ‘beta test’. As a former programmer, I have a major concern with that label. A beta test is, by definition, using a small population to test a new system (normally a new program or computer operating system) for the purpose of rolling that system out to the total population. The very use of the term ‘beta test’ indicates that national has not backed down one bit in their Power Grab and fully intends to go with Plan A. It makes this look like smoke and mirrors.
Please find some other descriptor. I would offer some, but national has shown that they will not accept any inputs and use them directly.
Second, one of the major problems that national addressed in the initial iteration is the fact that it is hard to get 88 Chapters to ‘row in the same direction’, hence the need for centralization. So what they offer is a council consisting of 88 members to push things effortlessly down the stream. Do you really expect for us to take that seriously? The whole reason why many of us pushed back is that national was trying to fit all of us into the same pigeon hole. Every Chapter is unique and every region very unique. There are various specifics as to the best size for any committee, but they all top out around twenty. Now you are suggesting a committee that is four times that size. Instead of rowing the same direction, we now are herding cats!
What was originally requested is more transparency. The only good thing about the 88 person committee is that it will be so stymied that nothing will ever come out of it (look at Congress). Sometimes inaction is the best course!
Also what was requested was access to data and a usable data base. Where is that?
Each Chapter needs to have the tools to grow. I do not see anything here addressing that. It seems more like a desperate group realized that they were fighting a losing battle and are trying to save face. The mess we ended up with in the first place is a prime example of what you get when you bring in consultants to do the work (for more examples, read up on what has happened with the California bullet train – all consultants and a big mess).
While I appreciate the fact that the new proposal pulls back a lot on the Big Brother aspect of the original, it still does not address what the Chapters requested more than a half-decade ago. And it still does a lot of things that are not needed. And it still leaves the door open (with the ‘beta test’) to slide back to Plan A.
My opinion is that the best option is to kill OneFPA. Then send out an open-ended survey asking each Chapter what WE would like to see national look like. Then compile and distribute the results. And then open up for discussion amongst all of the Chapters. At that point, maybe we could actually have a central group called National. With the capital ‘N’.
Dick Womack, CFP®