I don’t know if what the association is trying to do with its “OneFPA Network” effort—a program to transition to being one entity instead of a loose conglomeration of chapters—will work well or not. The association’s announcement about the move was a spectacularly awkward cacophony of buzzwords and consultant-speak. That rarely aids understanding or engenders trust.

The association’s leaders might not have had to scramble as much to explain and defend the initiative if they had been more straightforward in the original description. They may fare better with something like this two-sentence description in a nice piece by Karen DeMasters in Financial Advisor: “The new form for the organization will be more centralized, and administrative, and technology responsibilities will be removed from the 86 individual chapters. However, chapters will maintain their independence and continue to develop their own leaders, programs and budgets.”

Now, the quality of the original announcement shouldn’t determine the success or failure of the initiative. What will matter more are the decisions yet to be made. Dig into the material and it’s clear: The national leaders are not attempting to be dictators. They are instead leaving a lot to be decided through “participatory governance.”

Yes, the consultant-speak term “participatory governance” made me roll my eyes. But if what the FPA ends up doing is effective, it could be a nice plus for the profession. The national leaders, who I know will see this through, are strong and capable. I know of many good local leaders involved in the process too. I applaud the FPA for moving on this, and despite my criticism and skepticism, I am going to root for them and try to help. The profession and its practitioners would benefit from a stronger association, and if the local chapters are stronger, the FPA will be stronger.

So, what will 2019 hold?

Will the DOL try again? Maybe.

Will the SEC stop the name games and hat-switching and actually do its job of enforcing the “solely incidental” clause of the Advisers Act? Not a chance. It looks like Wall Street owns the commission.

Will the anti-fiduciary industry players follow through on their threats to the CFP Board to curtail support of the board’s marks now that it has a new fiduciary approach? I hope not.

Will the FPA strengthen? I hope so.

Stay tuned. 2019 is bound to be interesting.