Frank Paré, a planner recognized for his advocacy and volunteer work serving low- and middle-income families, has begun his tenure as president of the FPA with a goal of expanding the organization's membership.
His hope, he says, is to foster "understanding that there is this profession out here called financial planning but, more importantly, it's not a profession just geared towards the ultrawealthy.”
"I know the heart and the passion that our members have toward serving individuals and, in some cases, individuals who have no money and are struggling financially," Paré adds.
Paré is the founder of PF Wealth Management Group in Oakland, California, which charges clients using various compensation models from flat fee, to commission and percent of assets under management.
The organization's 18th president since 2000, Paré was awarded the FPA's Heart of Financial Planning Award in 2011 for his pro bono work in his community. His volunteer work led to collaborations between local and state governments to host free financial planning clinics to help families impacted by the economic downturn.
The planning industry is in the midst of figuring out how to extend its services across the spectrum of client economic levels, Paré says. He hopes to foster this evolution while taking the FPA's membership beyond its current level of close to 24,000 advisors, which has increased only modestly in the past five years.
Paré will serve in this role for one year before assuming its chairmanship for 2019. Both the positions of president and chairman are roles that rotate annually. The FPA's executive director and CEO, Lauren Shadle, has held her position since late 2012.
After a career in compliance both at Charles Schwab and turnkey asset management company Loring Ward in San Jose, California, Paré started his own firm 12 years ago, where he provides paid and pro bono services.
Good planners are sorely needed where he lives and works, he says. "Keep in mind I'm in the Bay Area, one of the most expensive places to live," he says, where with "an income of $80,000 a year, you are barely making it."
His firm also serves a handful of high-net-worth clients.
As president of the FPA, Paré says he hopes to communicate the value of joining the association to all kinds of planners in the industry, regardless of their compensation models.
The Financial Planning Coalition includes three organizations: the CFP Board, the FPA and NAPFA, which restricts its membership to planners who only charge fees. The descriptor "Fee-only" has become shorthand in the industry, if a controversial one, for planning that places a client's financial interests before that of the planner.
But Paré is of the belief that planners can offer client-centered, fiduciary service in any model.
"Whether we do [planning] as fee-only or do it on some other fee-based or AUM or pro bono [model], the fact of the matter is, we are still embracing and growing the face of what this profession is or should be," he says, likening the different types of planners to relatives gathered for the holidays.
"At the end of the day we are still family. I'd like to think we are a family that can disagree and still be able to have dinner together."