DENVER, Oct. 12, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Cetera Advisors LLC ("Cetera Advisors"), an independent broker-dealer and registered investment adviser within Cetera Financial Group*, a leading network of independent broker-dealer firms, today announced its sponsorship of the Certified Financial Planning (CFP™) program at the University of Akron, in Akron, Ohio. The sponsorship is aimed at helping the university continue to develop its rapidly expanding program in financial planning, both as a practice-based program geared to assist students in preparing for entry into the financial advice industry, and as an academic field of study. The University of Akron currently offers one of the few available financial planning degree programs in the US that matriculates students for a four-year financial planning degree and CFP™ designation.
The sponsorship will also help fund the recent recruitment of Barry S. Mulholland, Ph.D., as Director of CFP™ Programs at the university. His role is to guide the program in its next stages of academic development and to increase the enrollment, graduation and placement of students with CFP™ and financial planning degrees, with the goal of encouraging more undergraduates to become financial advisors upon completion of their university education. He will also focus on the recruitment of a more diverse population of potential financial advisors into the industry. This will include efforts to attract more women and minorities, both among students and career changers, as well as reaching out to the advising community for greater involvement and assistance with the program's design.
Erinn Ford, President of Cetera Advisors, commented, "Cetera Advisors is thrilled to be a sponsor of the University of Akron's Certified Financial Planning program at this important stage in its growth and at this critical juncture for our industry. The aging of our financial advisor base, and the expected future deficit of highly trained and dedicated practitioners, is a well-known problem throughout our industry. Yet there have been few effective and affordable solutions for overcoming the many barriers that often prevent bringing in a younger work force to supplement and eventually replace our current cohort of industry professionals.
"However, universities across the United States have begun to recognize the benefits of offering financial planning degrees, and many are ideally suited to help train the next generation of advisors. The University of Akron's rapidly growing CFP™ program, which has already developed an exceptional academic and practice-based curriculum, has just brought in a highly accomplished new director to take the program to the next steps in its evolution. The CFP™ program at the University of Akron is a perfect candidate for Cetera Advisors' support, and our partnership with it promises to yield multiple benefits for the university, for our company and for our industry overall," she concluded.
Cetera Advisors joins with a select group of national and local financial services companies in sponsoring the University of Akron's CFP™ program. For the period of 2016 - 2017, Cetera Advisors has committed a total of $25,000. As part of this sponsorship, Cetera Advisors and its affiliated advisors will directly benefit by gaining the opportunity to receive placement services of interns and new graduates, and its sponsorship will be recognized in all program materials. Additionally, it will be able to participate in internship and job placement studies and will work together with the program's leadership in promoting independent financial services. Indirectly, Cetera Advisors will benefit as the university actively promotes financial planning and recruitment within northern Ohio and across the Midwest.
Dr. Mulholland stated, "This is an exciting time for the University of Akron's financial planning program, which as recently as a few years ago was a fledgling offering with only handful of students. Now it has over 70 students, and our goals include growing the program over the next five years to a level that allows us to consistently graduate in excess of 50 students per year with financial planning degrees.
"As we expand the scope and reach of the CFP™ program, increasing the levels of degrees we offer as well as the number of students we can serve, we will need the resources to increase our academic research to expand the existing body of knowledge about the industry and to develop professors capable of educating our students. At the same time, in order to ensure ongoing relevance, our program must remain in close contact with the industry's practitioners to prepare students for the multifaceted realities of working within the profession. In both instances, the involvement of industry leaders like Cetera Advisors is vital to our success and we tremendously appreciate their support," he said.
A former financial services professional, Dr. Mulholland received a doctorate in Personal Financial Planning from Texas Tech University, where he became a member of the faculty before joining the University of Akron. The University of Akron's CFP™ program was originally started in 2003.
Internships Spur Professional Development and Advisor Profitability
At a recent Cetera Advisors Fast Forward conference in September, in which affiliated independent advisors shared knowledge and best practices in a peer-to-peer setting, Ms. Ford and Dr. Mulholland were joined by Carina Diamond, CFP™, Managing Director of SS&G Wealth Management, on a panel entitled "How to Grow Your Practice and Increase Profitability Using Young Talent." The panel focused on the benefits to advisors of hiring university students as financial planning interns.
Ms. Diamond explained that her firm, based in Akron, Ohio, has been hiring student interns from the CFP™ program for more than ten years and that several of its current professional staff members had originally come aboard as interns. In her firm's experience, the internship program produced numerous benefits, including decreased training time, the procurement of high quality talent at lower cost, lower client-to-staff ratios that resulted in enhanced client service, higher than benchmark revenues and profit margins, and lower than benchmark expenses.
"Internship programs, which are a fundamental component of the University of Akron's CFP™ program, are an enormously successful way to nurture new advisors and bring them into our industry while also producing substantial benefits for advisory practices," said Ms. Diamond. "Moreover, I have been astounded at the relevance of the University of Akron's CFP™ program in educating its students in the up-to-date systems, technologies and processes used in a typical top-quality advisory practice today. This extremely valuable training enables students to move from the classroom to the workplace efficiently and productively.
"I applaud Cetera Advisors' leadership for its foresight in investing in the next generation of advisors. I believe their sponsorship of the University of Akron's CFP™ program is one of the most effective and creative means of tackling one of our industry's most pressing problems," she concluded.
Brett Harrison, CEO of Cetera Advisors, added, "Cetera Financial Group is proud of this initiative taken by Cetera Advisors. It establishes a template for advancing the development of a younger generation of financial advisors in other geographies in which Cetera operates, and serves as a beacon for finding a constructive way forward in solving a dilemma for our industry."
About Cetera Advisors
Cetera Advisors LLC is an independent broker-dealer and registered investment adviser (RIA) firm offering efficient and convenient access to an extensive network of people, products and services to successful and experienced financial advisors across the country. As a member of Cetera Financial Group, Inc., the firm is able to offer all the benefits of a large, well-capitalized broker-dealer, including innovative technology, leading wealth management and advisory platforms, and comprehensive broker-dealer and RIA services, with the personal relationships often found only at a boutique firm.
Cetera Advisors is a member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) and a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (FINRA). For more information, visit www.ceteraadvisors.com.
About Cetera Financial Group
Cetera Financial Group® ("Cetera") is a leading network of independent retail broker-dealers empowering the delivery of objective financial advice to individuals, families and company retirement plans across the country through trusted financial advisors and financial institutions. Cetera is the second-largest independent financial advisor network in the nation by number of advisors, as well as a leading provider of retail services to the investment programs of banks and credit unions.
Through its multiple distinct firms, Cetera offers independent and institutions-based advisors the benefits of a large, established broker-dealer and registered investment adviser, while serving advisors and institutions in a way that is customized to their needs and aspirations. Advisor support resources offered through Cetera include award-winning wealth management and advisory platforms, comprehensive broker-dealer and registered investment adviser services, practice management support and innovative technology. For more information, visit www.ceterafinancialgroup.com.
* "Cetera Financial Group" refers to the network of retail independent broker-dealers encompassing, among others, Cetera Advisors, Cetera Advisor Networks, Cetera Financial Institutions, Cetera Financial Specialists, First Allied Securities, Girard Securities, and Summit Brokerage Services.
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