FLN – CFA charterholders who want to make a difference


Financial Literacy Network



The Financial Literacy Network. It is a group of 10 concerned CFA charterholders (Chartered Financial Analysts) gathered in 2019 to work for improved financial literacy (FL) in our communities. We wanted to use the knowledge we have accumulated in finance to improve communities. These last three years have been something that none of us could imagine! A pandemic, global slowdown, and disruption of almost all business models. The one thing entirely clear was the unfortunate state of FL across the globe. Our effort started as a ‘working ‘group’ within the CFA advocacy effort. It has since taken on a more organized approach of a 501c3 organized in Georgia. Here is what we are trying to achieve:

Mission: To provide support for CFA Societies globally for their financial literacy activities and to work with like-minded organizations 

Vision:  Strong communities where people make informed financial decisions, take control of their financial future, gain financial resiliency and ultimately achieve financial well-being.

The initial effort was to produce materials for CFA charterholders to use as they talked to communities about best practices in managing your financial life!


As we began this effort, we looked around at the existing financial literacy efforts and realized there were some core tenets of materials and philosophy that all were following. The effort is managed by a very talented and passionate group who want to improve our communities. The typical approach tried to respect and understand how each of us had faced a glaring need and had developed different paths to improvement. As go forward, our main objective is to continue creating opportunities for professionals to impact communities. Here are the current board members for FLN (all CFA charterholders with other designations and degrees):

Stephen Davenport is the President of the FLN.  Steve has held leadership positions withinee  CFA Society Atlanta and its ASFIP Foundation. As President he established the ASFIP financial literacy foundation, with the main goal of helping the metro Atlanta community.  

Robert Stammers is the founder of the FLN.  He worked for a number of asset managers and at CFA Institute in various roles and continues to speak and to write about how people can improve their financial well being

Barbara Mainzer is an Uruguayan investment professional that discusses financial literacy on TV, the written press, and by lecturing at schools and universities. She worked with G. Natali to develop a book for students in Uruguay similar to Gene Natali’s book, “Missing Semester”

Robin Masters is a Bermuda professional working with local society and media to help organize tools for improved financial skills

Dr. Greg Filbeck is at the dean of the business school at Penn State Behrend in Erie, PA and is an endowed professorship in finance and risk management. He has led CFA Pittsburgh in these FL efforts for ten years and continues to research best practices and improving educational methods

Will Krause is a Boston professional who helped start the CFA Boston effort in financial literacy, working with libraries and other partners

Ashvin Vibhakar is a professor at Arkansas Little Rock who worked at CFAI as a founder of “Future of Finance” and as head of the Asia Pacific office of CFAI

Jason Lee is a professional in Malaysia who has been involved with financial literacy across the Asia region

Steve Rodgers is a professional in Switzerland who has been involved with financial literacy with CFA Hawaii

These partners have committed to making this network successful, and I am sure it is in good hands. We wanted to be a global effort and highlight many different approaches. This problem was not created overnight, and the solution will take everything we have to solve! All the board members have an extensive network of partners and colleagues involved in CFA society efforts. Two players on our bench but not currently in the starting lineup:

Gene Natali is a Pittsburgh professional who works at FL startup Troutwood, and he has written two books on the subject, Missing Semester I, and II

Michael Underhill is a Milwaukee professional who helped his society and its financial literacy foundation, partner with Secure Futures to help improve the Wisconsin community

On their own, these individuals could have continued to add value and enhance their community. Each of them has come together with the help of other CFA societies across the globe to “make a difference”! It is a wonderful group of partners, and I implore you to reach out and talk with these talented professionals. You will be as excited about the future of financial literacy as I am!

The FLN is putting energy toward educational methods and broad communication. Bob Stammers has created a series of podcasts on the YouTube FLN-Financial Literacy Network page. 

YouTube FLN videos

From here, you can get to our LinkedIn page and website. Please follow and support us so we can get the message out. What is the message that we want to communicate?


When we started this effort, there were many questions, and I want to try tackling a few so the effort can be put into proper perspective. Is this a Personal or Professional effort?

Volunteer effort will create opportunities for us to improve the community. Companies want us to accomplish shareholder goals but are beginning to value the secondary benefits of the interaction. I also see our exhibiting professional skills in these situations as a positive extension of my company and my profession. We could be interviewed on CNBC to answer clearly professional questions. This provides an opportunity to discuss how finance knowledge and ideas are shared everywhere. We are now in a 24-hour news and information cycle. The line of when your professional ideas end is becoming less and less clear! Our LinkedIn and Facebook lives can roll over to our Twitter and Instagram

The Client versus Community is another area of much discussion. We try to deliver the most well-rounded and researched ideas to our clients. We can’t know if we are successful because there can be many things on a clients’ mind. In my high net worth (HNW) experience, it is more commonplace to have discussions about purpose and life goals. The successful entrepreneur is looking for great advice on investments and life. Finding a good private equity return goes alongside with the interest in improving the world. The future is not likely to get simpler. For many, discussions about crypto and NFT will replace document retention and wills.

Our efforts are a part of a shift from the shareholder versus stakeholder framework for investment professionals. Business has been focused on doing what is suitable for the shareholders with less concern for the employees, clients, community, and environment. Now with the discussion of a stakeholder framework, there is a greater effort toward satisfying multiple purposes. These could be goals that are synergistically compatible. We will see how the future implementation of ESG (Environment, Society & Governance) folds back into the shareholder. I believe the financial literacy discussions fit in with every firm’s S (Society) part of ESG. Companies working in a neighborhood want economic stability so the area is vibrant. Doesn’t a professional from the investment industry volunteering in a classroom create a greater opportunity for those students to begin consideration of a finance career? The stability of the community depends on the wellness of all the families in the community. These are good philosophical debates but let’s not take our eye off the prize!

The FLN is looking forward to having a worldwide impact through financial literacy. The details and methods can be discussed and debated but not the intent. We are here trying to do good things in our communities. 

Help us to make this effort great!

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