Case Study: Women-Led Practice FPD Leaves Firm for Stability

Last Edited by: LPL Financial

Last Updated: March 19, 2019

Financial Planning Department group image

Firm makes a big move to reach ambitious goals

Financial Planning Department, Inc. founder, Kathleen Hansen, has a long career in helping people manage their money. Starting with her first job in financial planning for real estate, Hansen’s MBA and background in finance and accounting made her a perfect fit. But when tax reform essentially eliminated her job as a real estate tax analyst, she had to make a change.

The financial services industry wasn’t fully formed at the time, with investments typically handled through a wirehouse, life insurance handled through an agent, etc. In considering what to do next, it dawned on Hansen that virtually everyone could use financial planning services, so with two colleagues, she started a business designed to fill that need. Thus, the Financial Planning Department, Inc., was born, and has survived and grown for over 34 years.

An idea becomes a business

When the stock market crash in 1987 made it hard for independent planners to survive, Hansen began doing income tax returns to make ends meet. But as she dug deeply into people’s financials, it dawned on her that a person’s taxes provide an ideal, comprehensive monetary picture, and again felt her calling in helping people with financial planning.

It was tough at first, but as time went by and her clients started accruing assets, they turned to her to help them manage them. Her business has grown organically ever since.

Hansen’s team has grown as well, and now consists of five smart, accomplished women who each bring their own skills. A large portion of her clientele are also women, and as Hansen said, “It’s important for women to create a financial plan. We provide perspective and experience to support their unique needs.”

Change on the horizon, again

Despite the consistent focus of FPD, their partner firm couldn’t seem to stop changing. First there was a name change, then a series of acquisitions and mergers, each bringing its own cultural and logistical challenges. The team at FPD kept a tight rein on their clientele in every case, but at a certain point, they wanted stability. “Sometimes it was the cultural fit, other times it was complicated online systems, and sometimes we just didn’t feel a personal connection,” said Hansen. “I was tired of feeling like I was always putting out fires and wanted to settle in and grow my business.”

Sometimes bigger really is better

Hansen initially became interested in LPL Financial because she thought its size and history would provide FPD with more stability. At the same time, she wondered if such a large firm could provide the personal touch her clients were used to. Around this time, an LPL recruiter sought Hansen out, and she and her team were impressed with his warm and appreciative attitude about his colleagues and the company. There were a number of informal meetings before a deal was struck, and Hansen was delighted to see that the same attitude seemed to permeate every level of the organization.

Once the decision was made, the transition went quickly and smoothly, with FPD opting to keep their existing RIA but moving all their investment accounts over. There were, of course, changes when they joined with LPL, but this time Hansen claimed her clients were, for the most part, happily oblivious.

As for the FPD team, Hansen said, “We were excited about partnering with LPL and were impressed by the technology that allows us to accomplish more with less effort, the in-house research department that makes sure we’re always in-the-know about market trends and changing regulations, and most of all, the people.” The FPD team agree that their new partners at LPL understand the needs of them as advisors and are committed to their success.

Looking forward

Hansen says her two CPAs have become fully licensed and their asset bases are certain to grow, and the team will rely on the scalability provided by LPL to do that efficiently. “We didn’t start out by targeting high-net-worth clients; we focused on establishing relationships and providing financial planning services. As our clients’ portfolios grew, we were privileged to continue to serve them. We’ve got ambitious goals, and with LPL, we believe we’ll reach them.”



The views and opinions expressed by the LPL financial advisor(s) are as of the date of this publication. These views may not be representative of the views of other financial advisors and are not indicative of future performance or success. Neither LPL Financial nor the LPL financial advisor can be held responsible for any direct or incidental loss incurred by applying any of the information offered. Financial Planning Department and LPL Financial are separate entities.