Indiana State to offer CFP Board-registered financial planning program

By: Austin Arceo, ISU Communications and Marketing Staff
April 22, 2013

When Indiana State University junior Jennifer Groth began scheduling classes last semester, she planned them out by thinking of an academic program the university does not yet offer.

Yet she knows it's a matter of time - and she will be among its first graduates.

Groth will be one of the inaugural students in the financial planning program that Indiana State will begin to offer in spring 2014. ISU's Scott College of Business will offer the program as a concentration within the finance major. The CFP Board, a nonprofit organization that sets the requirements for Certified Financial Planner certification, approved Indiana State's proposed curriculum for the program.

"The CFP program is appealing to me because I want to do financial advising for a living," said Groth, a finance major from Terre Haute. "This major will complement what I want to do. Also, the curriculum is set up perfectly so I can take the CFP exam in the future."

Graduates of the new program will have fulfilled the CFP Board's educational requirements for certification, said Sharon L. Robinson, finance instructor in the Scott College who helped create the new program at Indiana State. The board's additional certification requirements include an examination, several years of work experience, and recognizing and understanding the ethics required in personal financial planning, Robinson said.

"The ethical component is its strength, and that is because, as a Certified Financial Planner designee, we have a fiduciary standard," Robinson said. "The client's best interest will always come first."

The financial planning program will provide business students the option to learn more about personal financial planning, said Robinson. The current finance major curriculum is tailored to investment analysis, which is for larger businesses or portfolio management, she added.

"The designation is probably second only to the CPA (certified public accountant) designation in terms of trusted advisors," Robinson said. "It's the most trusted financial planning designation that a financial planner or advisor could have. It's very widely recognized."

Only two new courses needed to be created for the planner program to be added to the finance major. The Scott College of Business already had most of the classes needed to fulfill the CFP Board requirements, which includes courses in accounting, insurance, finance and business law.

"Planners also have a very broad base, so it's comprehensive by nature," said Robinson, who also is a Certified Financial Planner. "That means that we can advise an individual in all areas of their financial life, from as basic as budgeting to retirement, estate planning, insurance or investment planning. It's integrative, and we work all of those areas together."

Since Indiana State already offers most of the classes, several students have already started taking courses with the plan to graduate with the new concentration. Groth enjoys the breadth of knowledge graduates will receive in the program, which will leave her well-prepared to advise people in a number of areas.

"This is a great major to consider," Groth said. "It is an amazing opportunity for the (Scott) College to add such an amazing major to their list of ones they offer."

Accounting majors in the Scott College have already expressed interest in taking classes within the program.

Brien Smith, dean of the Scott College, was impressed that students such as Groth were already taking the initiative to take coursework in anticipation of the program.

"Certified Financial Planners have a strong, broad knowledge base that can be an asset in a number of professional industries and situations," said Brien Smith, dean of the Scott College of Business. "The financial planning program is just the latest way that we are working to provide businesses and the community with the professionals that they need to be successful."

Photo: http://isuphoto.smugmug.com/Other/marketing/Federal-Hall-Scott-College-of/i-2P4rd2m/0/L/09_12_12_Don_Scott_-2552-L.jpg Zhiyong (John) Liu, associate professor of insurance and risk management at Indiana State University, teaching in the Minas Trading Lab classroom in Federal Hall, which houses Indiana State's Scott College of Business. The Scott College will offer a financial planning program beginning in 2014; most classes are currently offered in the college, and several students have already started taking classes to prepare. Liu will teach several courses in the new program.

Contact: Sharon L. Robinson, instructor of finance, Scott College of Business, Indiana State University, 812-237-2091 or sharon.robinson@indstate.edu

Writer: Austin Arceo, assistant director of media relations, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3790 or austin.arceo-negrich@indstate.edu