Steve Holdsworth was having dinner with his wife Wendy in Boston during FPA Boston 2008 when he presented her with a problem: How does one come up with an acronym for "mid-profession and career transition planners" within the Financial Planning Association? It is not, after all, a phrase that exactly rolls off the tongue. But without hesitation, before the clam chowder was even served, Wendy Holdsworth replied, "M-P-A-C-T." And with that, a new community had a name.

MPACT was developed to serve mid-professionals and those who are in career transition. In order to join MPACT the advisor must be a manager, partner or founder in a financial planning firm. He or she should have served five years in a leadership role or have 10 years of full-time experience in the financial planning industry without leadership experience. Just as important, members should be passionate about the value and benefits of the financial planning process. Championing the transference of responsibility from the founders and leaders of the profession to the next generation is one of the core missions of the group.

"The average age of members within the FPA is around 55 or 56 years," Holdsworth says. "There is absolutely a window of time to assure that the legacy of a practice is being addressed."

The FPA had for several years been looking to start a slightly older sibling "community of interest" to its popular NexGen group, which targets practitioners 36 years and younger. Having turned 38 this year, Holdsworth, director of client services and financial planning at Legacy Wealth Management in Memphis, Tenn., had aged out of NexGen. After being actively involved with the group since 2006, culminating with a stint as the group's secretary, he was now looking for a new peer group. The timing couldn't have been better to launch MPACT, so Holdsworth and his co-founders-Debbie Grose, Patrick Dougherty and Eric Kies-rolled it out at the October 2009 NexGen conference in Anaheim.

Besides its focus on succession planning, MPACT also seeks to promote the financial planning process and fiduciary standard of care in the advisory role. Holdsworth says the community serves as a sounding board where advisors can share questions and concerns and learn what other practitioners are doing. It also allows advisors to hold one another accountable for their work. Practice management and mentoring within the profession are important aspects of the group's mission. The MPACT membership grew from four members at its launch in October to 16 members within roughly a month.

At the root of MPACT's mission is a drive to grow new leaders within the FPA. "There is such a wealth of knowledge and wisdom that we want to make sure it gets handed down," Holdsworth says.

Steve Holdsworth
Director of Client Services and Financial Planning
Legacy Wealth Management
Memphis, Tenn.

Age: 38

Years in industry: He has been in the financial services industry since 1992.

Designations: CFP, CLU

First job: A paper route. My first professional job was being a planning assistant at American Express.

Best career decision: Joining Legacy Wealth Management and getting active in the Financial Planning Association. I should've done it sooner.

Worst career misstep: Worked as a security guard over a summer and once fell asleep.

Fantasy career: I believe I'm actually doing it. I'm very passionate and I love what I do.

Favorite way to relax: Spending time with my family at our lake house.

Most important thing I learned this year: The critical importance of client communication and keeping things in perspective.

Wish for the year ahead: Increased consumer education and financial literacy.

Worst fear for the year ahead: Without question, a double-dip recession.

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