Why a Financial Plan Competition?

By David Stitt

For professionals who believe in the need for having a plan to guide an individual, it is important that young people entering the industry have knowledge and experience in how to develop a comprehensive financial plan that informs, educates, and motivates clients to take appropriate action in order to meet their goals.

Every profession needs a steady stream of educated new entrants in the field to replace those who leave. The average age of planning organizations is getting older and there is a real need for new, fresh blood to reenergize and to be ready to carry on as the older professionals retire. If a prospective employee has specific experience in actually putting together a comprehensive financial plan, they will be in a much better position to step in and contribute to an organization from the beginning.

As one might expect, submitted plans in our past competitions have represented many different approaches to solving the issues of the case. That is both encouraging and challenging when judging the plans. There is not only one answer and there is a lot of room for creativity in terms of how to most effectively deal with the issues at hand.

A good plan must accurately reflect the facts of the case, clearly explore the challenges in meeting the client’s objectives, not be biased for or against any particular product or service, show a solution that moves the client closer toward their objectives, and motivates the client to take action rather than confront them with more questions.

As the IARFC Plan Competition enters its judging stage, we look forward to reviewing the efforts of this year’s participants. A panel of highly qualified and experienced Registered Financial Consultants will judge the submitted plan and select two finalists. Judging criteria:

20% Correct insertion of the case data and the “soft information”
20% Understanding of the problems, including any incomplete data
40% Recommendations made (the logic, priority and suitability
10% Physical construction and design of the written plan
10% Supplemental text and illustrations.

A secondary judging panel will then judge the competing finalists and will consider their personal presentation as additional judging criteria.
The personal presentations will be by live web presentations and the winner determined by the secondary judging.

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