Male teacher stands at the front of a classroom. Students can be seen from behind watching the teacher.
John Banko, Wells Fargo Faculty Fellow and Director of the wealth management program, teaches a wealth management class in Heavener Hall.

New program prepares students for careers in wealth management

In the program, UF and Warrington students can shape their foundation in wealth management through an elective course, degree specialization or minor.

This fall, students at the Warrington College of Business and across the University of Florida will have the opportunity to hone their wealth management skills thanks to a new program dedicated to the subject.

Warrington’s wealth management program is designed to provide students with a solid understanding of the concepts and techniques used by wealth management, insurance advisors and practitioners, like financial planning, investment planning and personal retirement planning.

“Wealth management is a great career for those who like working with people,” said John Banko, Wells Fargo Faculty Fellow and Director of the wealth management program. “The end-product is a customized plan for individuals outlining goals and strategies for areas like investing, maximizing benefits, minimizing the impact of taxes, establishing a family trust and beyond. Competent professionals will always be valued to help guide clients through the various options for financial advice.”

Two opportunities within the program prepare students for careers in wealth management including a specialization in wealth management for students completing their Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration (BABA) and a wealth management minor. Both the BABA specialization and minor meet the educational requirements needed to take the Certified Financial Planner® (CFP®) exam.

The Certified Financial Planner® certification is the standard of excellence for financial planners. Those who pass the exam are recognized as having met extensive training and experience requirements and affirm a commitment to the CFP Board’s ethical standards that require certification holders to put their clients’ interests first.

As a CFP® professional since 1992, alumnus Charlie Fitzgerald III (BSBA ’83) has long recognized the benefits of the designation. The Principal and Financial Advisor at Moisand, Fitzgerald and Tamayo Financial Planning and Wealth Management is a passionate advocate for wealth management education and played a critical role in helping launch the program at Warrington.

“UF’s new wealth management program has been created to meet the demands of the marketplace,” said Fitzgerald, who previously served as Director of the CFP Board. “At present, there is a big need for young financial planners in our profession. There are presently more Certified Financial Planner® professionals over the age of 70 than under the age of 30. This shortage means there are opportunities all around the country for smart young planners to make their mark. UF’s new program has been designed with this need in mind.”

Fitzgerald, along with Banko and Andy Naranjo, Chair of the Eugene F. Brigham Finance, Insurance and Real Estate Department, worked together to create a layout and funding plan for the program. Thanks to generous support from Eugene F. Brigham and the estate of Harold “Hal” A. Gokey, the group was able to launch the program.

“As student interest in financial planning continues to grow, I anticipate that our first-rate program will educate numerous highly qualified and ethical financial planners who will be impactful to their clients and broader communities,” Naranjo said.

For two Warrington students, the wealth management program has set them on a course to do just that.

For Atleena Jino (BSBA ’23), her search to find a career at the intersection of finance, psychology and family planning led her to wealth management. The experience she’s had thus far in the program inspired her to pursue a wealth management internship with JPMorgan, which she will start next summer.

“I think it’s a unique and rewarding track within the finance industry because of how much you get to help clients one-on-one and how much of an impact you can have on individual lives,” Jino said. “It’s also a privilege to learn so many different perspectives on planning for our own futures and ensuring our own financial stability. Personally, I am also able to bring back the knowledge I gain from this program to my family and give them the financial literacy they never had access to growing up. I am excited to continue this program and dive more into the nitty-gritty aspects of the industry.”

For John Perry Hilton (BSBA ’23), who’s chosen to pursue the wealth management minor, the program offered an opportunity to understand the real-world application of his finance education.

“Professor Banko has stepped in to provide the students of this class with a real-life map of various financial situations one will have to cross – insurance, savings, investments, etc. – all subjects many business students crave knowledge on, yet don’t necessarily get the full scope in introductory undergraduate classes,” Hilton said. “The breadth of topics covered here sheds light on not just applications to our personal lives, but also others as we enter the work force trained for harnessing a CFP® designation through the minor and becoming a more informed young person entering the gateways of a lucrative pursuit of financial endeavors.”

In addition to preparing students for careers in wealth management, Banko notes that the program offers valuable insights for anyone interested in planning for their future financial goals.

In an elective course called “Intro to Financial Planning and Wealth Management”, students across Warrington and the University of Florida can learn about the aspects of financial planning including general principles, investment planning and personal retirement planning. The program will also host a seminar in November where students can engage with two wealth management professionals and see how they work with clients.

“For students, especially those just starting their careers, the tools of wealth management will guide them in establishing goals for the next several decades,” said Banko. “Do you want a house? A family? Would you like to stop working well before the traditional retirement age? Wealth management will offer the background to set such goals, see what is needed to attain them, and give feedback on progress toward those goals.”

If you are an alumnus or professional who would like to get involved with Warrington’s wealth management program by guest speaking in a class, hiring an intern or graduate, or making a gift to the Wealth Management Program Excellence Fund, please contact Michelle Helmer.