CFP Board Names Louis Garday CEO

The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards (CFP Board) has appointed Louis J. Garday, an investment banker with nearly 30 years experience in starting and running financial services companies, to serve as its chief executive officer.

Garday, a Denver CPA who plans to get his CFP license, comes into the position without a background in financial planning. What he does bring, says CFP Board Chair Patricia P. Houlihan, is a resume that left the board‚s search committee deeply impressed.

She also cites his "enthusiasm" for helping lead the CFP Board at a time of rapid expansion. "We feel very fortunate to have him," she says, citing his experience in corporate management and service on various boards of publicly traded companies. "It certainly gives him a depth of knowledge in the financial services world."

Hiring someone with a background in financial planning was not an overriding priority, Houlihan adds. "We were looking for someone who was going to run the company," she says, in a reference to the nonprofit organization that is not accidental.

The CEO position was created in the spring as part of an organizational restructuring that came after the resignation of Robert Goss as CFP Board president last year.

Dede Pahl, who has served as the Board‚s acting CEO since May and was one of the five finalists for permanent appointment, concurrently was named the CFP Board‚s chief operating officer after Garday offered her the post.

Garday is scheduled to start August 1 and will leave his post as senior vice president and director of REIT Services for Newman & Associates, an investment bank in Denver, that is a subsidiary of GMAC Commercial Holding. He has been with the company since last year.

Previously, he was a founder and the managing director of Carolina Capital Markets LLC in Columbia, S.C., which provides capital to homebuilders and commercial real estate developers, the CFP Board says. Garday also was a founder of San Diego-based Burnham Pacific Properties Inc., a real estate investment trust company. He also served as vice chair of NAREIT, the REIT industry‚s trade association, and oversaw its government-affairs operations.

Many, including search committee member David Diesslin, wondered why someone with Garday‚s background would be interested in the position. Garday notes that while at NAREIT in the early ‚90s, he was placed at the head of a task force with representatives from the Department of Labor and the Securities and Exchange Commission, among others, relaxed regulations prohibiting institutional investors from investing in REITs. It was "immensely rewarding," he says, adding it dramatically accelerated the growth of the REIT industry.

Garday‚s primary goal is to elevate the CFP profession in the eyes of regulators and the public. "I want to build the third leg of the stool," he explains. That means helping the CFP designation achieve the same stature that the legal and accounting professions enjoy today.