The role of non-CFP licensees also generated intense discussion. According to the merger agreement, former IAFP members who are practitioners have 10 years to earn their CFP licenses if they want to remain members of the financial-planning division. If they do not get their license by 2010, they can remain members of the FPA, but not in its financial-planning division.

One CFP licensee questioned the fairness of this rule and asked if there wasn't a way to grandfather these members. Another wondered if it wasn't time to resurrect the "Registry." In the 1980s, the IAFP started the Registry as a way to allow serious practitioners to network. Another 30-year veteran of the business commented that he planned to earn his CFP, even if he didn't think it was completely fair for him to be required to do so.

IPO Positions Investors Capital To Pursue Growth Strategy

Armed with millions from an initial public offering, Investors Capital is looking to become more than an independent broker-dealer. The company is pursuing a strategy of expanding its mutual fund offerings, upgrading its Web-based services and doubling the size of its registered representative force within five years.

"We want to be more of an asset gatherer and asset manager, rather than solely a broker-dealer," says CEO Ted Charles, who founded the Lynnfield, Mass.-based company in 1992. "We'll provide the best value by having the management of these assets, not just being product-sales people."

The company set off on these changes following an IPO on February 8 of 1 million shares at $8 each. Minus commissions, underwriting discounts and other expenses, Investors Capital netted $6.7 million.

Other independent brokerages are also contemplating IPOs. LPL Financial Services of La Jolla, Calif., one of the largest and fastest growing firms in the business, told reps two years ago it was considering an IPO within the next five or six years. Were LPL to go public, it probably would have a market capitalization in the $1 billion area.

Investors Capital has 1,200 independent brokers around the country, and Charles says he wants that number to double by 2006.

Investors Paying More Attention To Taxes On Fund Gains

Investors are paying more attention to how their mutual funds manage taxes, according to a survey commissioned by Eaton Vance, the tax-managed equity fund company.

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