I want to send my best to all of you and hope your year has started off well. I am honored to serve as the AFCPE President in 2016. I want to acknowledge Michael Gutter, our most recent past president (2015). I appreciate his leadership in helping the Board refine the mission, vision and priorities of AFCPE. I value his expertise in research, education, and practice.

We have just completed a very successful Research and Training Symposium in Jacksonville. Thank you to the AFCPE staff and the Symposium Task Force including:

  • Co-chairs: Mark Stanford and Mike Dunn
  • Proceedings Editors: Vivian Mason and Elizabeth Kiss
  • Research and Student Papers: Rachel Grimes
  • Practitioner Forums: Amy Bayliff and Victoria Chadderton
  • Posters: Kristy Tubbs and Sasha Grabenstetter.

Most of all, we thank you, the members, for the success of the 2015 Symposium, Building the Bridge from Research to Practice. The plenary speakers, concurrent sessions, posters, community outreach event, and others were brought by YOU, the members, which challenged us to think about connections between research and practice, pose new strategies to inform researchers, and promote evidencebased and research-based practices in financial education and counseling.

Generally, evidence-based programs and practices are those which are proven to be successful through rigorous research methodology to generate positive results. They are becoming a standard in the industry. AFCPE has been built upon a research foundation and it will continue to lead in research-based practices in the field of financial education and counseling.

In addition to the thought-provoking connection between research and practice, I want to highlight a few of the accomplishments of AFCPE: Most significant are our efforts to (1) achieve accreditation of the AFC® through the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), (2) strategic initiatives and partnerships with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), and others and (3) provide enhanced membership and certificant services.

Building upon these strengths and successes, the Board and staff will be working to identify key initiatives for 2016. The strength of our current governance is the vigilance of accountability that is established through our policies. Your involvement in AFCPE is critical to the leadership of the organization. The Board is committed to transparency and accountability in decision making based on evidence and analytical process. While AFCPE upholds high standards of
the financial education and counseling professions and promotes the value of these professions to consumers and stakeholders, we need to analyze and utilize data-based or research-based evidence to guide our decisions. During this coming year, the Board will focus on strategic planning for AFCPE to set goals and priorities, develop implementation plans, and acquire the necessary resources. This process will lead us in the next several years and position us well in many more years to come. As a key part of this critical process, AFCPE needs YOUR interest, enthusiasm, expertise, and leadership.
I look forward to working with the Board, staff, and task forces on these initiatives. We have an excellent staff under the leadership of our Executive Director, Rebecca Wiggins. The staff is committed to advancing AFCPE’s goals through enhancing existing programs and creating new and exciting initiatives for the AFCPE and its members. On behalf of the Board, we are proud of your accomplishments in making a difference in people’s lives and excited to continue to further elevating the role of AFCPE in improving the economic well-being of individuals and families.

It’s Official: The AFC® Certification Is Accredited!

After a very lengthy and rigorous process, it’s official: the AFC® has been accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). Accreditation through NCCA enhances the value of the AFC designation to employers, colleagues and consumers. This recognition and achievement sets the certification mark apart from others in the field and emphasizes the highest standard of
excellence that AFCPE has built for this field. The AFC’s compliance with NCCA standards shows that the educational content and testing for the AFC is psychometrically sound and has been developed, maintained, and governed at the highest standard.

This extensive process was successful thanks to the numerous AFC professionals
and members who were part of the accreditation process, giving an enormous amount of time and effort to work with the exam psychometricians. We also appreciate the AFC candidates who volunteered to take the new exam during June of this year, and along with a huge thank you to the AFCPE Board and staff who worked tirelessly to ensure that every aspect of our program aligned with the highest quality standard.


Jinhee Kim, PhD, University of Maryland

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