Written By: Ted Digges
There are two mega trends that have converged to create a tremendous opportunity for both the financial services profession, and the men and women who have honorably served in the armed forces of the United States, along with their spouses. First, the financial services sector is largely comprised of aging professionals and is facing a demographic challenge in need of an infusion of skilled individuals. Second, over 375,000 of our nation’s veterans and their spouses who will transition each year into the civilian workforce and are looking for a meaningful second career where their skills can be used. To address these trends, The American College of Financial Services established the Penn Mutual Center for Veterans Affairs (PMCVA).
The mission of PMCVA is to empower veterans and their spouses with educational support and career opportunities in the financial services profession. The crown jewel of the program is the full scholarship awarded to active duty service members, veterans and their spouses. Scholarship recipients can earn their specific designation for any of those offered at The American College of Financial Services, as well as the two master’s degrees: Master of Science in Management (MSM) and Master of Science in Financial Services (MSFS). The full list of designations includes:
Eligible recipients include active duty service members, active guard and reserve, as well as their spouses or surviving spouses, and veterans who have received an honorable discharge. Scholarships are awarded based on military status, financial need, accomplishments, academic potential, quality of recommendations, and other extenuating circumstances.
The American College of Financial Services, located in Bryn Mawr, PA, is a nonprofit educational institution which provides training and development for financial services professionals. Serving as a business partner to banks, brokerage firms, insurance companies and the like for more than 90 years, The College has assembled a faculty of financial scholars to help companies and their employees grow and succeed.
The establishment of PMCVA in 2012 represented a strategic inflection point for The College, as a win-win strategy for both veterans and the profession. Veterans and their spouses are uniquely qualified for a career in the financial services profession because they come from a culture of service and “can-do.” In addition, they appreciate different cultures and backgrounds and are typically comfortable operating in an environment that requires attention to detail and regulatory compliance. With the increasing complexity of tax, estate, insurance, retirement, and college planning, there is a material need for individuals of integrity to help others address life’s major milestones with confidence and success. Those familiar with the military way can step in and fill this need for which so many are looking.
There are a lot of veteran support organizations out there doing wonderful things for our veterans, and there are financial services organizations that are doing a superb job serving veterans, but there isn’t an organization out there that has the focus on serving veterans who are in the financial services arena. The really nice aspect of filling this niche is that the PMCVA complements and creates synergies with those other organizations supporting veterans in job searches and fulfilling their financial needs.
One of the organizations PMCVA has partnered with is AFCPE. The key to this partnership is expanding the knowledge, reach and opportunities of both organizations through our websites, The Standard newsletter, and even word of mouth and social media. Through cross marketing, both organizations can improve the education level of those already in the profession as well as attract additional quality individuals into the field.
Many current AFC® designation holders work with veterans, are the spouse of a veteran, or are veterans themselves. Since many of these individuals qualify, the scholarship opportunity presented at The American College of Financial Services represents an excellent way to expand their credentials, expand their network or launch a new career. PMCVA recently awarded a scholarship to an existing AFC designation holder. As the wife of an Army chaplain on active duty, she was fully engaged in counseling soldiers. By pursuing a ChFC® designation, she is looking to expand her repertoire for those she was counseling, which will ultimately benefit them.
Conversely, anyone already holding a CFP®, ChFC® or CLU® designation might be able to sit for the AFC exam. By expanding the pool of designation holders for both The College and AFCPE, not only does the industry become stronger, but each individual has more flexibility with the deepened expertise.
Three years of full-time business experience is required for all Huebner School designations. The three-year period must be within the five years preceding the date of the award. An undergraduate or graduate degree from an accredited educational institution qualifies as one year of business experience. Part-time qualifying business experience is credited toward the three-year requirement on an hourly basis, with 2,000 hours representing the equivalent of one year full-time experience.
To find out more about The American College of Financial Services and the PMCVA scholarship program, please visit http://veterans.theamericancollege.edu/ or call 610-526-1517.
Ted Digges is the Executive Director of The American College’s Penn Mutual Center for Veterans Affairs. He is a retired Navy Captain and currently holds the ChFC® designation from The American College of Financial Services.