FPA of MN Newsletter – September 2015

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President’s Message – September, 2015

Greetings to all,

As summer winds down, the changing of the seasons means many things: The State Fair, the start of the school year, football season kicking into full gear (Go Gophers!), and so on. For FPA of Minnesota, it means that two of our flagship programs are right around the corner:

  • Twin Cities Financial Planning Day – The 6th annual Twin Cities Financial Planning Day will be held on Saturday, October 17th from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm at the Wilder Center in St. Paul. The purpose of the event is to both increase the recognition and value of financial planning in the Twin Cities area and provide the public with the financial information they need at a time when many residents in our community are in urgent need of financial planning assistance.As in past years, planners will volunteer to meet one-on-one with participants to answer their financial questions. The event will also feature a series of 50-minute educational workshops as well as a resource fair where local non-profits will spread awareness of the resources and services available within the community to program attendees.  This year’s event will feature Chris Farrell and Ross Levin as our keynote speakers. Having been involved with Financial Planning Day for each of the past five years, it has been amazing to see this event grow from 25 participants in our first year to 225(!)a few short years later. A huge thanks to all those volunteers who have contributed to the success of Financial Planning Day over the past five years and a big shout out to Julieann Schroeder for her fantastic efforts in chairing this year’s Financial Planning Day event.For me, volunteering for this event has been incredibly impactful and fulfilling in terms of being able to really connect with people who are in such need of the services that we provide, not to mention a whole lot of fun. To register to volunteer for this year’s event or for more information, please visit the Financial Planning Day website. I highly encourage you to participate.
  • FPA of Minnesota Symposium – Regarded as one of the best financial planning conferences in the country, Symposium will take place on November 3rd and 4th (Tuesday and Wednesday) at the Minneapolis Convention Center. The event again features an outstanding lineup of speakers, including Michael Kitces, Bob Keebler, Doug Lennick, Jill Schlesinger, David Kelly, Jerry Webman, Rick Golod, and many, many others. Up to 14 hours of CFP® Board CE, NASBA/CPA, CIMA, CLE, and MN & WI insurance CE credit will be available, including ethics.As always, there will be plenty of opportunities for networking with top financial planners and industry partners. Already, over 500 people have registered to attend – you will certainly be in good company. A huge thanks to Karen D’Aloia and her committee as well as Bonnie Stanley and her team for all of their efforts in putting together what is shaping up to be another fantastic event.Symposium was my first “taste” of FPA of Minnesota eight years ago, and I have made it a point to attend each year since. I always come away with great takeaways that allows me to better serve my clients as well as deeper connections with great colleagues in our financial planning community. To register, visit the Symposium website. Don’t miss out!

As always, feel free to let me or any of our Board members know of any questions, comments, or concerns that you have. We strive to “ask-listen-respond.”

Steve Gilbertson, CFP®
Accredited Investors, Inc.

Final Call: Register Now for the FPA Annual Conference

This is your final chance to register to attend the FPA Annual Conference – BE Boston 2015 that will be held on September 26-28. You won’t want to miss the jam-packed schedule of insightful sessions that will help attendees be more knowledgeable professionals and better business owners. A Business Consulting Lounge will be available for attendees to schedule appointments to meet with some of the profession’s best consultants and coaches! It will be a great opportunity to talk about your business challenges and gain valuable insight into marketing, technology, success planning, business planning and much more. Register today!

Golf & Bocce Ball Outing Winners

Here are the winners:
1st Place Team: Stephen Lee, Craig Jergenson, Jason Kuehn, Mike Zigler
2nd Place Team: Robert Kincade, Mark Brown, John Schonberg
Straightest Drive Men: Nick Scheibel
Straightest Drive Women: Michelle Marquez
Closest To Hole in Two Men: Dave Anderson
Closest To Hole in Two Women: Julie McDonough
Longest Putt Men: John Walsh
Longest Putt Women: Stacie Scherven
Bocce Ball Champ: Mark Tripp
Bocce Ball Runner Up: Bill Petrangelo
Putting Contest Winner: Jessica Johnson

Thank you to our Special Sponsors:
Charles Schwab
Chubb Personal Insurance
Citizens Independent Bank
Cohen & Steers
Gruning Financial
Hellmuth & Johnson, PLLC
Jensen Investment Mgmt
Leuthold Funds
Mainstay Investments
Mairs & Power
Prudential Investments
PHH Home Loans
Stonebridge Capital

Thank you to our Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze Partners!
Thank you to all that donated Raffle Prizes and Trinkets!
Thank you to all our golfers that made this a great day and fundraiser for The ALS Association MN/ND/SD Chapter - Total raised: $7,440.

See Photo Gallery

Symposium Photo Shoots Are Back in 2015

At our 2015 Symposium, we're bringing back another great benefit for you!

Preregister by October 31 and save 10%.

Why is it important to have a professionally photographed portrait for your company’s marketing? For the same reason you might hear a prospect say “I don’t need professional financial planning help, I am doing just fine on E-trade.” The answer is that you don’t need a professional image for your online profile or webpage any more than a potential client NEEDS professional advice for their financial plan.

Your professional headshot is a core part of your marketing plan, likely the first visual contact you will have with your prospective clients. Whether on LinkedIn or on your website, the photos you use greatly impact your company’s digital image and reputation. Images are the first thing the eye is drawn to on the screen – hence it is the first impression your client or prospect has of your site/profile.

While personal photos can work (E-Trade can work too) a professional image will help you craft the image your website portrays of your company to prospects and clients – planning that image is important.

At the 2015 FPA Symposium I would like to invite you to stop by the Matte B Media Productions Photo Booth and update your business profile photo. We will be at the Symposium both days and look forward to helping you and your office update your professional online profile.

Preregister at www.mattebphoto.com by October 31 and save 10%.

If you have questions or would like to reserve a spot please contact me at matt@mattebphoto.com.

Matt Blewett, CFP®, MSFS, RPA
Matte B Media Productions


Pro Bono Committee - New Volunteer Opportunities

Pro Bono (a group education and one-on-one) is humming with volunteer opportunities. In addition to existing opportunities, we have two new affiliation opportunities coming up. If you are interested in volunteering for any of the opportunities listed below, please contact me directly via email or by phone at (952) 548-3130 ASAP.

One is a 2-Day Minnesota Army National Guard Power of One Fun Run events on Sep. 12th, Camp Ripley - Little Falls and Sep. 13th, Arden Hills.

Events are for former and currently serving military personnel, military family members, and community members throughout the state of MN. The events will be used to raise awareness about the At Risk behaviors associated with Suicide, educate on protective factors and inform participants of community resources for the 5 trending issues we see in the MNNG (Employment, Mental Health, Relationship, Financial, and Substance Use) available in their region of the state.

We have been asked by Minnesota Army National Guard “to support the events with a resource table to assist our Service members across the state with accessing financial resources”. This means that we will need to man the resource table from 8 AM – 12 PM.

The second new, possible opportunity is to provide financial education and one-on-one consultation to homeless in affiliation with the House of Charity, Minneapolis, as a part of their new program to help their clients’ transition from being homeless to independent living. We hope to have this program up and running sometime in September.

Separately, we are continuing to offer Pro Bono Workshops. On September 15th we are again offering “Pro Bono Boot Camp: Credit and Debt Management” as a refresher in advance of the Twin Cities Financial Planning Day, October 17th. If you have thought about volunteering to provide one-on-one at the Financial Planning Day but hesitating due to unfamiliarity with how to advise individuals on credit and debt management, this is a must attend workshop.

If you are interested in other upcoming Pro Bono events, activities, committee meetings, and or serving our communities through our profession, please contact me.

Communities of Practice/Study Groups

Are you looking to join or create a study group where you may share ideas with other FPA members and financial planning professionals? These groups could be centered around NexGen, New to the Profession, Career Changers, Succession Planning to name a very few.
If you have an idea of a type of group you would like to create or be a part of, please send your ideas to careerdevelopment@fpamn.org. As we learn of members' interests we will help connect you with one another and you can take it from there!



  • MentorMatch pairs a mentee with a willing mentor, with the purpose of advancing the mentee’s personal career goals.


  • Mentors and mentees will be matched by our FPA chapter based on the preferences of both parties. Mentors will have only one mentee and mentees will have only one mentor for the time of engagement.
  • Mentees will be required to develop a specific set of goals which will form the basis of the mentor-mentee relationship.
  • Our chapter will provide a sequence of structured activities during the mentorship period, including a kick-off call, mid-program check in call, and wrap-up call.


  • This will be a 6 month program, beginning in January 2016.
  • The commitment of a mentor is 9 hours over 6 months. This includes 6 monthly calls/meetings with your mentee and three calls facilitated by FPA.

Next Steps

  • If you are interested in learning more about MentorMatch or in being a mentor or mentee, please contact the Career Development Committee at careerdevelopment@fpamn.org and a Career Development Committee member will be in touch with you.

In Search of Clients' Best Interests

The CFP Board defines a fiduciary as “one who acts in utmost good faith, in a manner he or she reasonably believes to be in the best interest of the client”. The SEC and individual states define legal investment fiduciaries with similar references to clients’ best interests. The first bullet point of the FPA Standard of Care is “put the client's best interests first”. While the concept of acting in clients’ best interests gets referenced often, many in and around the profession may have very different views on which advice would meet or exceed this benchmark. Although a universal definition of clients’ best interests could be very useful to practitioners, it may be impossible to reduce such a broad subject to a finite definition.

A Young Science (and a Young Art)
Financial planning is a relatively new area of study compared to professions such as medicine, law, etc. Medicine has been around since before Hippocrates proposed a professional oath of “do no harm” in roughly 400 BC. However, even 2,000+ years after his death knowledge on how to “do no harm” was still quite crude as expectant mothers were dying in research hospitals due to preventable infections in the 1800s. Physicians were not washing their hands before delivering babies after dissecting cadavers because nobody had discovered germ theory yet (Google Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis for an interesting story of progress and opposition).

A recent article caught my eye: “Why Bond Funds Don't Belong in Retirement Portfolios” by Dr. Wade Pfau. Summarizing the research it appears we should replace bond funds with income annuities in all retirement income portfolios. Given this evidence, would a financial planner not be acting in their clients’ best interest if some of their client retirement income portfolios contained bond funds instead of annuities? Time will tell, but history doesn’t look kindly on Dr. Semmelweis’ skeptical colleagues who resisted washing their hands. Every day new research is published in subject areas relevant to financial planning. Some of which will be shown in time to be wise; some will be contradicted by future discoveries. How much evidence must we have before we must adopt new best practices and declare prior practices not in clients’ best interests?

Should Professionals be able to Predict the Future?
One thing that is hard about helping clients plan for an uncertain future is we can give sound advice but it may still turn out poorly. For example, Dr. Pfau's research on immediate annuities over bond funds appears sound but what if you implement it and the highly rated insurance company funding the annuity goes bankruptand/or the client dies young? What if you don’t implement the research, insurance companies stay solvent, and your client runs out of money due to sequence of returns and longevity? There is no way to know which of these courses of action will turn out to be best for clients until years after we make the recommendations.

With this in mind, how would we determine what advice fails to act in the clients' best interest? Should we be expected to know what the markets will do and how that will affect clients’ financial plans? Many clients think we should; especially many of those who work in hard sciences like engineering where the laws of physics are more consistent than financial market dynamics. Some advisors attempt to predict market movements, others recommend diversification and systematic rebalancing. How wrong must the predictions be to violate the best interests principle?Is an advisor who rebalances as the stock market goes down violating the best interests principle by not making tactical moves to preserve client assets? We might not all give the same answers to these questions.

“I know it when I see it”
To paraphrase U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart on the difficulty of defining pornography: “I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material...perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and...this case is not that.”Perhaps we won't be able to define a best interests standard as concretely as we would like and we'll have rely on human judgement with all of its biases and flaws to determine whether it is “reasonable to believe”advice given was in the best interest of the client.

Experience FPA Advocating for Your Profession

On June 24, FPA members from across the country went to Washington, D.C. to meet with policymakers to advocate for financial planners and the profession. After a full day of more than 80 meetings, the members who participated were excited about what was accomplished throughout the day. If you want to hear what some of them had to say about the experience and why they believe all members need to get engaged in advocacy work, click here!

FPA Member Advantage Program - how one member benefited from this program

FPA Member Advantage Program

See how one member benefited from this program – Source FPA One Connection

Member: Brian Fricke, CFP®

Primary Role: Founder and CEO of the fee-only financial planning firm Financial Management Concepts in Winter Springs, Fla.​

What challenges were you facing before deciding to use the FPA Member Advantage Program to connect with Advantage Media Group (AMG)?
I had always wanted to write and publish a book to differentiate myself from other financial planners and advisers in my geographic area, and to stand out to prospective clients. Especially if they were interviewing several potential financial planners. Unfortunately, I already had a manuscript, but was left "holding the bag" with a different book publisher.

As you went into the relationship with AMG, what were you hoping they could do to help you get the book off the ground? What were your expectations?
I naturally wanted them to help get my book published in a timely and efficient manner. I was also hoping they would share best practices of other successful authors, especially in the areas of marketing. Not as just another financial planner, but as a published author. AMG has a well-documented system for getting a book published and promoted. Within the first 12-months of my book being published, I realized a huge return on my investment in terms of new clients to the firm.

In fact, shortly after my book came out, I was contacted by a local large company to see if I was available to speak at an internal employee program, and what my speaking fee would be. This group represented what most planners would consider to be ideal client prospects…a group most planners would (or have) paid thousands of dollars to obtain as an audience.

Although the book has already been published, they continue to impress me with their never-ending quest to bring new ideas and opportunities to their authors to help them market and promote their books.

What has been the biggest takeaway for you as a result of your work with AMG?
Don't worry about selling the book to make money. You'll actually make more money by giving your book away in terms of new business opportunities it will bring to you. I also learned how important it is to create your book marketing plan even while you're writing the actual book. I encourage any potential authors to put as much time, maybe even more time, into the book cover and design as they do in the actual book content. It's key to getting the book noticed!

What advice or guidance would you give fellow FPA members about the FPA Member Advantage Program and why they should take advantage of benefits offered?
A great way to support the mission and vision of FPA is by taking advantage of the FPA Member Advantage Program. I'm not responsible for most purchasing decisions in my business, but I do make sure those that are responsible know about this great member benefit. I think it's important, whenever possible, to support the vendors who participate in the FPA Member Advantage Program.

As a 20+ year FPA member, I will continue to support the mission and vision of FPA whenever possible, including using the services and products offered through the FPA Member Advantage Program.​


Do you want to benefit from FPA Member Advantage Program just like Brian? If so, learn about the more than 80 service and product providers who can help you address marketing, technology, human resources, business planning, and so much more. The special discounts exclusive to FPA members are accessible to you now!