Student Participation Tripled in 2014 National Financial Plan Competition

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The International Association of Registered Financial Consultants (IARFC) is excited to report that the number of students for the 2014 National Financial Plan Competition has tripled the number of participants from last year. Students and their Faculty can still enter and are encouraged to send in their enrollment before the October 31st deadline.

We want them to incorporate the human element in their presentations. In order to convince the client to adapt their strategies, they have to do more than just provide the facts and figures. --IARFC Chairman, Ed Morrow.

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Building on the success of last year, the IARFC 2014 Plan Competition is emphasizing the importance of the educational opportunities at every level of the process. "We are not just giving the students a case narrative to crunch numbers," says IARFC CEO Ed Morrow, "We want them to incorporate the human element in their presentations. In order to convince the client to adopt their strategies, they have to do more than just provide the facts and figures."

For an inclusive experience, the plan evaluation is a four-step process. There are extensive learning opportunities for the students. On the most elemental level, students must follow the guidelines for submitting their sample plans. Following detailed directions will either pass them to the next level or weed out those who bypass even the simplest requirements.

From there, the plans are reviewed on an analytical level. Judges will be looking at the numbers and the solutions. The students will use critical thinking to examine the facts of the case history and outline recommendations. The step narrows the field down to six semi-finalists.

Phase 3 will be a visual presentation to the IARFC Board of Directors on March 6th. Through web conferences, students will explain their sample plans and answer questions from the judges. At this point, the judges will be looking for professionalism in dress, speech and mannerisms. How effective were they in communicating their plan to the prospects? Did they clearly make the case for their recommendations? How did they work as a team? The results from this panel of seasoned financial professionals will result in finalist teams going to Las Vegas.

On May 1st, the finalists will present their plans LIVE to a panel of Financial Professionals at the New York, New York Hotel. The judges at this point will be thinking as the end client and decide which plan they would pick to implement for the family and fact situation.

The IARFC feels strongly in using this national competition as a learning opportunity. Some faculty members who are incorporating it into their student curriculum. Others are using it as an “extra credit” opportunity. Feedback from seasoned, successful professionals will be provided at every step so rather than just a one-way process, students can learn what they need to improve for their real life careers and facing real life prospects.

"Participation in the competition provides my students an opportunity to gain real world practical experience in being able to use the Plan Builder software provided by IARFC," says Matthew Garrett, adjunct professor at Bowling Green University who has entered 43 students into the competition. “We teach them to do Time Value of Money calculations using their financial calculators for a basis of understanding when working with client data, but the majority of planning practitioners use software and its output to support their client recommendations. This competition gives them a leg up should they go on to enter the field and need to learn and use their new firm's planning software.”

Submissions can still be sent to the RFC for the October 31st deadline. For more information, contact amy(at)iarfc(dot)org or visit the Plan Competition Page on the IARFC website. Sponsors are needed for the Competition. To join the growing list of those who are promoting this educational endeavor, contact us at info(at)iarfc(dot)org.

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Wendy Kennedy
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Susan Cappa
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