The Financial Planning Association is seeking the fountain of youth.
With the average age of FPA's 23,360 members at 52, “one of our goals is to see whether we can get that average down over the next several years,” Lauren Schadle, who will take over as FPA chief executive Tuesday, told reporters at the FPA's annual conference in San Antonio.
The quest to attract younger advisers is taking FPA to college campuses. The organization has set up 22 student chapters across the country.
“We really want to make a connection [between] those who are in the profession, and those who are going to be, so that we can build a pipeline,” said FPA president-elect Michael Branham.
In an attempt to help young professionals build relationships within FPA, the organization has created a Next Gen office for members who are 37 or younger. About 9% of the FPA population is eligible for Next Gen and automatically enrolled.
Next Gen is modeled on FPA Connect, an online peer network that helps FPA members build relationships with one another.
“We're really using that to bring people together and create the community atmosphere that FPA is known for,” Mr. Branham said.
Students from Colorado State University, Kansas State University, Virginia Commonwealth University, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, San Diego State University, the University of Wisconsin and other schools are among the 1,900 attendees roaming the halls of the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center during FPA Experience 2012.
The Financial Planning Challenge — which involved 20 teams from 13 colleges — will conclude in San Antonio with the final eight teams competing in an oral case study presentation and a quiz-show-style event.
While FPA encourages students to enter the planning field and join the organization, its total membership hit an all-time low of 23,133 earlier this year. It has climbed by more than 200 since June 1.
“We have definitely stabilized,” Ms. Schadle said.
When it originally formed in 2000, FPA had about 29,000 members. The financial planning profession lost about 30,000 people following the financial crisis. In that context, the current numbers look pretty good, according to FPA chairman Martin Kurtz.
“We're doing fantastic,” Mr. Kurtz said.