George Kinder, life planning pioneer and founder of the Kinder Institute of Life Planning, came to two important realizations a while ago: European countries were embracing his approach to financial planning, and he was spending up to three months a year in London promoting the movement.
In a little more than a week, Kinder will relocate to London to establish an office and focus on expanding operations nationally and throughout the continent. London is the U.K.’s financial center, which allows independent advisors to thrive, Kinder said. Independent advisors pass through the city at least once a month to meet with clients, investment product providers and discount brokerages, which the British refer to as platforms.
“The entrepreneurial opportunities there are tremendous,” Kinder said. “It is an incredible place to make things happen. The best use of my time would be to foster the life planning movement in London.”
He won’t be alone in London. Tina Weeks, founder of Serenity Financial Planning, is the Kinder Institute’s representative there.
Kinder developed a detailed, client-centered interview process, EVOKE (exploration, vision, obstacles, knowledge and execution), to help advisors and clients identify personal and spiritual priorities in their lives, so that the financial plans are more effective. He also authored the book The Seven Stages of Money Maturity.
Financial advisors in the United Kingdom are also facing changes to the financial industry’s retail distribution review regime, which governs various levels of professional competency. The Financial Services Authority extended the list of professional designations under the RDR to include the certified financial planner, something that has drawn some criticism from the financial advisory profession.
Kinder will also bolster the movement in Europe. Financial planning professionals in several countries have already adapted his philosophical methods to administering financial advice in their practices, including some in Austria, Belgium, and Ireland. Indeed, the Netherlands, accounts for the highest number of registered life planners per capita and per square miles, Kinder said in a phone interview. About 78 professionals there hold the comprehensive RLP, according to the organization’s Web site.
The Kinder Institute teaches its courses to advisors in 16 other countries. It lists almost 2,000 advisors who have completed various levels of life planning training. By the end of 2010, the institute expects to certify 200 registered life planners.