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Financial Planning Association’s silver symposium set for April 30

The Mississippi Chapter of the Financial Planning Association’s annual symposium is a rite of spring in the metro area. Slated for April 30 at the Country Club of Jackson, this year’s event marks the 25th symposium. With the theme “Financial Planning: Putting the Pieces Together,” the event begins at 7:15 a.m., bringing a wide range of professionals together.

The Mississippi Business Journal is one of the sponsors of the symposium.

“This is our silver anniversary year, the longest continuous running symposium in the FPA organization,” says Rita Parker, this year’s chairwoman. “We had 128 people in attendance last year and have set a goal for 150 this year.”

Parker, who is associate vice president with A.G. Edwards, a division of Wachovia Securities, says this time of year has always been the time of the symposium. “There is no real reason for it to be in the spring of the year,” she notes. “Just that continuing education credits are very important to our members, and it helps to be the first out there.”

Speakers include: Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann; Jay Bryson, senior economist with Wachovia; John Scott, a CPA with HORNE LLP; Stan Neese with United Health Care speaking on health savings accounts; Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney; Barry Jones, an attorney, CPA and certified financial planner with Wise, Carter, Child & Caraway, P.A.; and Walter Wofford, IRA Wealth Education.

During lunch, William Rayburn, CEO and chairman of the board of FNC Inc., will speak on “It’s the Collateral, Stupid.” A.G. Edwards, a division of Wachovia Securities, is the luncheon sponsor.

“Our theme this year reflects our diversity,” Parker says. “The main goal is to promote and advance the financial planning industry, to upgrade skills of professionals, to provide outstanding continuing education in the field and provide networking opportunities for the attendees.”

She and other chapter members receive favorable comments each year on the timely information presented by knowledgeable speakers and networking opportunities. The chapter brings people together from all disciplines — certified financial planners, CPAs, attorneys and insurance professionals.

Jones sees the symposium from both sides, as a speaker and an attendee for many years. “It’s an excellent opportunity for networking. The Mississippi chapter is very diverse and includes people we do business with and those with any relationship with financial planning,” he says. “It’s an opportunity to visit, renew and make acquaintances. We find out about new products. That educational value really attracts me.

“The professional content is good and it focuses a lot on practical applications of what we’re learning.”

Jones, a tax attorney, will do a session on incapacity planning — the human side of planning. Other presenters will address the topics of business and securities law, the U.S. economic outlook, tax update — 2008 and forward, post-Hurricane Katrina insurance rates and taxable income and strategies for non-traditional IRA investing.

Breaks and exhibits will be sponsored by Wise, Carter, Child & Caraway, Estate Planning 123, Land Banks of Mississippi and Stubblefield & Yelverton, P.A.

Scot Thigpen, vice president and financial advisor with the Stanford Group Company in Jackson, attends each year to be better prepared to serve his clients.

“Clients depend on us to have a broad range of knowledge from which to draw to help solve their unique needs,” he says. “The FPA and particularly the symposium provide a tremendous resource to gain this knowledge base. Continuing education is vital. The gathering of the best financial advisors in the state is a testament to the importance and value of the symposium.”

A former symposium chairman and FPA president, Randy Mascagni, points out that the Mississippi chapter has won national recognition for its professional content and education sessions for financial planning practitioners.

“Our one-day symposium offers an excellent venue of continuing education sessions for practitioners to sharpen up on planning skills while receiving continuing education,” he says. “Those are the reasons I encourage anyone in this and related fields to attend.”

Contact MBJ contributing writer Lynn Lofton at llofton656@aol.com.

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