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LSU CFP® Program readies students for career in financial planning

In today's world, families are frequently faced with budgeting, funding education, planning for retirement, finding appropriate insurances, deciding how to invest or preparing their taxes. When focusing on each of these areas, they want to turn to a trusted, ethical source for assistance, and the LSU E. J. Ourso College of Business is preparing students to fill that need.

Camille Harrington Quintana In 2011, the E. J. Ourso College of Business began offering a CFP® Certification Education Program, and the college is helping students to advance their careers by earning the certification clients recognize, respect and demand.
Jim Zietz/LSU University Relations

In 2011, the E. J. Ourso College of Business began offering a CFP® Certification Education Program in partnership with the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, an organization for financial service professionals that awards the Certified Financial Planner™ designation. The CFP® Board's mission is to "benefit the public by granting the CFP® certification and upholding it as the recognized standard of excellence for competent and ethical personal financial planning."

"As one of the first students to complete LSU's CFP® Board-Registered Program, I was able to watch the program grow and develop into the exceptional one it is today," said Nickolas Bowers, LSU finance senior. "Through extremely knowledgeable and accomplished professors, the program instills every facet of the financial planning industry into its students. Beyond the professors, the countless guest speakers are able to give insight into the different aspects of the profession and share their advice on how to succeed in such a competitive industry."

By being a CFP® Board-Registered Program, the E. J. Ourso College is helping students to advance their careers by earning the certification clients recognize, respect and demand. They are gaining industry knowledge to serve their clients and earn their trust and are able to take themselves to the next level by achieving the certification that is the industry standard, the CFP® certification.

"The Financial Planning Association of Baton Rouge enjoys a strong relationship with the CFP® Board-Registered Program at LSU," said Joshua Ebey, CFP® and president of the Financial Planning Association of Baton Rouge. "The students at LSU will graduate with a superior skill set that is equal to the highest designation in our industry. This will give their graduates a tremendous advantage as financial planners and make them the most ideal candidates when interviewing for open positions. A thriving CFP® Certification Education Program at LSU is a real asset to our community, and the FPA of Baton Rouge will continue our support of their efforts."

CFP® Board-Registered Programs are financial planning education programs at the college or university level that meet specific criteria for educating individuals who wish to fulfill the education component for obtaining CFP® certification. Students who complete the financial planning pathway at LSU are eligible to sit for the national CFP® Certification Examination, administered by the CFP® Board. Successful completion of the education and examination components completes two of the core prerequisites to obtain CFP® certification. A program may be an undergraduate, graduate, doctoral or a non-credit certificate program, but all programs must meet several core requirements.

"For me, the most beneficial aspect of the program has been the assistance I received while trying to locate a quality internship," Bowers said. "This program has given me the educational tools I need to succeed as a CFP® by providing me with a genuine understanding of what the profession entails and a way to get my foot in the door."

Last fall, LSU's Department of Finance was featured in the Financial Planning Magazine article, "25 Great Schools for Future Financial Planners." The article highlighted the undergraduate financial planning specialization and its graduate financial planning specialization.

The Financial Planning Magazine article stated, "The fact [LSU's] program is located in the finance department of a business school offers a competitive advantage and visibility that benefits the entire profession."

Financial Planning Magazine relied on both financial planners and academics to comprise the list of 25 schools.

Camille Harrington Quintana Seven students were among the LSU Department of Finance's first group in the CFP® Board-Registered Program. CFP® program students take courses that will enable them to fulfill the education component for obtaining CFP® certification by the time they graduate.
EyeWander Photography

"As an employer in the Capital Region and avid LSU supporter, I am thrilled with the addition of the CFP® Certification Education Program at LSU and the tremendous growth the program has already experienced since its inception in 2011," said Martha D. "Missy" Epperson, CFP® and private wealth executive at Regions Bank. "The enrolled students are active in national and state organizations as well as the local business community. I am particularly impressed with the caliber of the students and their desire to learn about and seek opportunities as CFP® professionals in our community."

The Department of Finance recently received a donation of 50 licenses of financial planning software valued at nearly $100,000 from Zywave Inc. Headquartered in Milwaukee, Wis., Zywave is a company that provides software as a service product for financial planners and insurance brokers. The software will allow students to develop comprehensive financial plans, which is a key learning outcome in the CFP® program.

"Our CFP® Certification Education Program students will have hands-on experiences with software packages used in the financial planning industry, thus enhancing their skills and increasing their value to potential employers," said LSU E. J. Ourso College Associate Dean Frances Lawrence. "The finance department is delighted that Zywave has invested its resources in us. The software packages enhance our already remarkable SMART Lab, which has 50 networked workstations and features 12 Bloomberg terminals."

IPS AdvisorPro, a company that builds software for financial institutions, recently made a software contribution of nearly $500 as well.

"Our firm is extremely pleased with the new opportunity to recruit qualified candidates from LSU," said Edward Louis Shobe, CFP® and chairman of The Shobe Financial Group. "Previously, the majority of our recruiting was from out-of-state universities. We would always prefer to support our local community and residents. This program will further enhance career opportunities for many more LSU graduates and help preserve some of our talent in the state."

Lawrence remarked that the job market for graduates of the program is superior. She added that Baby Boomers are requesting financial planning assistance as they approach retirement, and that many current financial advisors are predominately older and on the path of retirement as well. Over the next decade, the growth rate for financial advisors is expected to be 31 percent.

"LSU's CFP® program has opened up numerous doors and allowed me to network with professionals all over Louisiana. I am excited to pursue a career where I will be able to apply the lessons I learned in the classroom and exercise my love of working with and helping people," said Paige Johannessen, an LSU finance senior who has a job waiting for her at a financial planning firm upon graduation.

To learn more about the CFP® Board, CFP® certification and financial planning, visit www.cfp.net.

The Department of Finance is a both a CFA Program Partner and a CFP® Board-Registered Program offering high quality curricula for undergraduate and graduate students interested in careers in corporate finance, asset management, real estate, insurance, banking, financial planning and business law. The department boasts internationally renowned research faculty in several areas, including financial planning, derivatives, asset management, banking and spatial econometrics.

For more information on the Department of Finance, visit www.bus.lsu.edu/finance, call 225-578-6291 or email finance@lsu.edu.

For more on LSU's CFP® Board-Registered Program, visit www.business.lsu.edu/cfp or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/lsucfp.