Certificate Program in Financial Planning

Certificate Program in Financial Planning

Meet Your Instructors

Program fast facts

  • Traditional Path (one night per week)
  • Pacesetter Path (two nights per week)
  • Intensive 11-month Cohort Program
LOCATION SMU Dallas campus
NEXT ENTRY DATE Sep. 25, 2017 (Traditional or Pacesetter Path)
CLASS DAYS 6 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. (M/W)
Priority Rate (by Sep. 11): $775 per course
Standard Rate: $875 per course
Pacesetter Rate: $1,350 (call to register)

  Register today

All courses are taught by instructors with extensive professional experience. All instructors are CFP® practitioners and most also hold an advanced academic degree (MBA, JD, etc.), or other appropriate professional licenses or designations (CPA, CFA, etc.). SMU Instructors use the financial planning topics as outlined by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. as a framework for teaching each course.

The SMU CPFP course curriculum was developed by integrating the CFP Board’s required topic list, traditional textbook curriculum, and well known CFP® Certification Examination review material . The result is a CFP Board-registered Program that combines sound financial planning principles, theory, and strategy with practical skills in development and implementation.

Joe Chenoweth

CLU (Chartered Life Underwriter), ChFC (Chartered Financial Consultant)
Texas A&M University

As Vice-President of the Estate & Financial Planning Division of ARMOR Wealth Management, LLC in Addison, Joe Chenoweth specializes in wealth transfer planning for wealthy families and the owners of closely held businesses. He has earned the Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU), Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) and Accredited Estate Planner (AEP) designations. Joe has instructed courses in three professional designation programs and regularly teaches continuing education programs on financial and estate planning topics for CPAs and attorneys. He is a past president of the Dallas Chapter, National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors as well as the Estate Planning Council of North Texas. He is an active member of the Financial Planning Association of Dallas/Fort Worth. Joe is also regularly listed by Texas Monthly as a 5 Star Wealth Manager in the Business Planning category. He has over 30 years experience helping clients find and implement simple solutions to their often complex business succession, executive compensation and wealth transfer planning problems.

Joe Chenoweth regularly teaches SMU CPFP 102 Insurance and Risk Management.

Patrick Dougherty

CFP® (Certified Financial Planner)

MBA, University of Dallas

Patrick Dougherty is the founder and president of Dougherty Wealth Management, LLC, a fee-only Registered Investment Advisory firm in Dallas, Texas that specializes in comprehensive wealth management. Prior to starting his own firm in 2005, Patrick began his financial planning career in 1999 at a NYSE member firm.

Along with his passion for his planning practice, Patrick is dedicated to growing the planning profession. Prior to his current teaching position in SMU’s CFP program, he served as an Adjunct Professor with the University of Dallas’ MBA Program for 8 years, He currently facilitates a monthly “practice management” seminar series in Dallas for new planners.

A member of the Financial Planning Association, Patrick serves on the Journal of Financial Planning Editorial Review Board. He is a member of the Investment Management Consultants Association and the Dallas Estate Planning Counsel. Patrick is regularly nominated by his peers to D Magazine’s list of “Best Financial Planners in Dallas.” He received his MBA with a concentration in financial and estate planning from the University of Dallas, having earned a BA from the University of North Texas.

Patrick Dougherty regularly teaches SMU CPFP 107 Financial Planning Strategies and Case Studies.

R. Bradley Fletcher

Brad Fletcher is a partner at Strasburger & Price, LLP.  His practice focuses primarily on advising clients with respect to estate planning, probate and trust law, representing nonprofit and tax-exempt organizations, and representing clients in controversies with the IRS and state taxing authorities.

His estate and trust planning practice involves preparing wills and trusts, probate, marital deduction trusts, life insurance trusts, minor’s trusts, gift planning, marital property agreements, and family limited partnerships.  Brad also practices in the area of estate and trust administration including probate and trust litigation and the preparation of gift and estate tax returns, and handling tax controversies and audits. 

Brad’s representation of nonprofits and tax-exempt organizations involves creating such entities (trusts and nonprofit corporations as both private foundations and public charities), preparing applications for tax-exempt status (Forms 1023 and 1024), representing nonprofits and tax­exempt organizations before the IRS and state taxing authorities, and advising nonprofits and tax-exempt organizations on issues unique to such organizations. 

Deidra Fulton

CFP® (Certified Financial Planner)
CPCU (Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter)
BA, Baylor University

Deidra is the founder and president of Fulton Financial Planning, Inc., a fee only financial planning firm based in Plano, TX.  The firm specializes in providing objective advice to folks across all stages of life.

Prior to transitioning to a career in financial planning, she worked in the property and casualty insurance field for 20+ years, holding various underwriting, product development, communication and training positions.

Deidra is a member of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) and the Garrett Planning Network, where she currently serves on the Member Advisory Board.  She is also the group leader for NAPFA’s local study group and a past NAPFA South Region officer.  In addition she is past chair of the Texas Business and Professional Women’s Foundation non-profit organization.

Deidra teaches SMU CPFP 101 Fundamentals of Financial Planning.

David C. Gair

LL.M. Taxation, University of Denver Strum College of Law
J.D. University of Denver Strum College of Law
M.A. Middlebury College
B.A. Bates College

Board Certified in Tax, Texas Board of Legal Specialization, Admitted to State Bar of Colorado in 2005, admitted to State Bar of Texas in 2007, U.S. Tax Court, all U.S. District Courts in Texas and Colorado; U.S. Court of Federal Claims; U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

Vice-Chair Tax Section of Dallas Bar Association, Council Member of Tax Section of State Bar of Texas, Chair of 2016 Tax Section Annual Meeting, on Board of Directors for Avance-Dallas, Inc. an early childhood education non-profit.

David is a former teacher from Denver, Colorado. He has over a decade of legal experience with focuses on tax, business, estate and asset protection planning for high net worth and entrepreneurial clients. David also represents clients in complex Federal and State tax litigation matters as part of his practice.

David is a shareholder at Gray Reed & McGraw in downtown Dallas where he has been practicing since 2007. He is a frequent speaker on tax and estate planning topics.

Roy E. Gray

CFP® (Certified Financial Planner)
Kaplan University
Spartan University University of Aeronautics
U.S. Navy

Roy Gray is the Director of Financial Planning with Munn & Morris Financial Advisors, Inc. an independent branch of Raymond James. Roy has been assisting clients in the development of financial plans and strategies to help individuals and families achieve their goals since 2001. Roy's practice involves all areas of financial planning, including the development of spending plans, family protection plans, risk tolerance assessment, development and implementation of investment and income plans, tax reduction strategies and wealth transfer strategies. Roy has been recognized as one of America's top financial planners in 2008 by the Consumers Research Council of America and regularly volunteers his expertise to the young men and women of our nations military so that they too may benefit from making intelligent choices with their money.

In addition to the CFP® designation, Roy maintains a Series 7, 63 and 65 registration as well as holding Property & Casualty, Life, Health and Long Term Care insurances licenses in many states. Roy is a member of the Financial Planning Association, Dallas Estate Planning Council and the Collaborative Law Institute of Texas.

Roy Gray teaches SMU CPFP 102 Insurance and Risk Management.

Bryan C. Jackson

CFP® (Certified Financial Planner)
B.B.A, James Madison University

Bryan C. Jackson, CFP®, is an Investment Advisor with Vision Point Advisory Group. Since 2004, Bryan has focused his practice on the complex planning needs of the business community.  Bryan specializes in institutional qualified and non-qualified retirement plan design.  He works closely with C-Suite executives, business owners and human resource professionals to create retirement plans, that will help participants at all levels within their respective enterprises, achieve a dignified and meaningful retirement.  Bryan also provides comprehensive financial planning, and specialized consulting that is tailored to the unique needs of the business community, including succession planning, and executive retention.
Bryan holds a Texas Dept. of Insurance Group 1 License, and a Series 65 Securities License.  He is also a member of the Financial Planning Association.

Diana Jenkins

CFP® (Certified Financial Planner), CPA (Certified Public Accountant)
B.S., Southwest Missouri State University

Diana Jenkins provides effective solutions to clients’ financial planning needs, no matter how complex. During her 25 years of experience, Diana has worked with two of the country’s largest independent financial planning firms, as well as Ernst and Young, LLP. Diana has managed an independent registered investment advisor and worked with all levels of clients, from those with basic planning needs to those with complex, specialized business and tax planning needs. Diana is now part of the First Horizon’s Wealth Management Team in Dallas. She was named one of the “Best of Financial Planners in Dallas” in 2002 and again in 2004 in D Magazine. She has volunteered in the past at the SPCA and likes to care for abandoned animals.

Diana Jenkins regularly teaches SMU CPFP 105 Tax Planning.

Bill Larson

CFP® (Certified Financial Planner), CPA (Certified Public Accountant)
B.B.A., University of Notre Dame

Bill’s financial planning practice targets the underserved markets of those just beginning their careers and middle income workers and retirees. His goal is to educate his clients to take ownership of their financial position; charges strictly a per hour fee.

In two previous careers, he was an audit partner at Touche Ross (now Deloitte) where his clients and practice areas included steel manufacturing, fabrication, metals recycling, machine tooling, plastic resin manufacturing, real estate leasing and development, property and casualty insurance, cafeterias, pension and welfare benefit plans. He headed the local Japanese practice area and local office recruiting. Teaching experience extended over numerous national training programs and local technical subject areas.

Bill was also the SVP and CFO of Commercial Metals Company (NYSE – CMC, a Fortune 400 company) where he had oversight for corporate accounting, treasury, tax, information technology, investor relations, SOX compliance and control monitoring, human resources and payroll, shared services, business risk management assessment, and office administration.

Norman A. Lofgren

A.B., University of Missouri
J.D., Oklahoma City University
LL.M., Taxation, Southern Methodist University
Case Oklahoma City University Law Review, 1976-77

State Bar of Texas–admitted 1978; District of Columbia (inactive); Dallas Bar Association (past chair of Probate, Trust & Estate Section); U.S. Tax Court; U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas; U.S. Court of Federal Claims; U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth and Eleventh Circuits; Pilot, U.S. Navy, 1969-75 (active duty) 1975-94 (reserve), retired rank of Captain.

Norm Lofgren, began his law practice as a trial attorney for the IRS Office of Chief Counsel where he litigated a wide range of tax cases on behalf of the government, evaluated criminal tax cases and chaired a group responsible for identifying abusive tax shelters. Subsequently, he served as tax and international tax counsel for a major international energy company. He entered the private practice of law in 1988 where his practice has mainly focused on representing and advising high net worth and entrepreneurial clients on tax, estate, business and asset protection matters. He has also litigated a number of cases against the Internal Revenue Service, including a test case involving the estate and gift tax aspects of family limited partnerships.

Mr. Lofgren is a member of Gray, Reed & McGraw, where he is co-chair of its Trusts & Estate Section. 

He regularly teaches SMU CPFP 106 Estate Planning.

Phil H. Nguyen

Certified Financial Planner (CFP®)
Certified Portfolio Manager (CPM®)
Certified Private Wealth Advisor (CPWA®)

Phil H. Nguyen is the Branch Director and a Wealth Management Advisor, and he has been in the financial services industry since 1998. Phil helps clients develop strategies to manage their personal and business finances. He specializes in investment strategies, portfolio and risk management. Phil previously worked at HP for 16 years as an Engineer, Project Manager, District Manager, Corporate Finance Manager, and a Venture Capitalist. He holds an EE Degree and an MBA.

Clark D. Randall

CFP® (Certified Financial Planner), CLU (Chartered Life Underwriter), AEP (Accredited Estate Planner)
B.B.A., Finance, Texas A&M University

Clark D. Randall, CFP®,  is the founder and owner of Financial Enlightenment, a financial planning firm offering fee-based services.

He graduated from Texas A&M University in 1985 with a bachelor’s degree in finance.

Clark currently holds FINRA Series 6, 7, 63 and 65 licenses.

He also earned the designations of Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®), Chartered Retirement Planning  Counselor  (CRPC®), Chartered Life Underwriter  (CLU) and Accredited Estate Planner (AEP).

Clark works closely with clients as their “Personal CFO” through his comprehensive fee-based financial planning approach.

The creative design strategies he offers have provided his clients stability and reassurance to help ensure that their plan is on track and in alignment with their goals.  

Clark is involved with many professional activities, having served on the Advisory Board of the Journal of Financial Planning and the Dallas Fort Worth Financial Planning Association Board of Directors. He currently teaches financial planning at Southern Methodist University.

Lisa Rapfogel-Ostroff

CFP® (Certified Financial Planner)
B.S., Finance, University of Texas at Austin
CLTC, (Certified in Long Term Care)
Southern Methodist University Certificate in Financial Planning Program

Lisa has 16 years of experience in the financial services industry. She is an advisor with Allegiant Wealth Management/MassMutual. She has tailored her practice to the needs of business owners, attorneys, physicians, executives, and professional athletes.

Lisa was born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas. She moved to Dallas 11 years ago to expand her practice and holds a Texas Insurance Group One License and Series 6, 7, and 63 Securities Licenses. She is also a member of the Financial Planning Association.

Lisa and her husband Dave live in North Dallas. When not working, she spends time with her new baby, spoiling her English Setter, Zeke, and volunteers at the

Lisa teaches SMU CPFP 102 Insurance and Risk Management.

Tom Ricks, Program Director

CFP® (Certified Financial Planner)
B.A., Southern Methodist University
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Tom Ricks is President of ETEXfinancial, Inc. a Texas Registered Investment Adviser. Tom has more than forty years of experience providing clients with comprehensive wealth management strategies designed to provide the most tax-efficient acquisition, use and distribution of assets. Specializing in assisting medical professionals, business owners and mid to high net worth clients, Tom’s practice involves every facet of comprehensive financial planning, including needs assessment, goal identification, risk tolerance analysis, development and implementation of investment strategies focused on wealth accumulation, current tax management and asset protection strategies. Tom has been recognized as one of the “Best Financial Planners” in Dallas by D Magazine.

Tom is a General Lines Agent–TX Group 1. He is a member of the Financial Planning Association, Dallas Estate Planning Council.

Tom Ricks regularly teaches SMU CPFP 102 Insurance and Risk Management, CPFP 103 Investments, and SMU CPFP 107 Financial Planning Strategies and Case Studies.

Sol S. Reifer

B.A., with Honors, University of Texas at Austin
J.D., Southwestern University School of Law, Los Angeles, California
LL.M., Estate Planning - Taxation, University of Miami

Sol is a partner in the Trusts and Estates Department of a North Dallas law firm. He has received the designation as an Accredited Estate Planner from the National Association of Estate Planners, 1995 and was listed in "Who's Who in American Law," 1994, as well as being nominated for "Outstanding Young Men in America," 1980, 1984.

Sol has been an Adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, Graduate School of Business Administration, the University of North Texas, and Southeastern Paralegal Institute. He has been invited to speak as a continuing education instructor for various life insurance companies and stock brokerage companies.

Sol Reifer teaches SMU CPFP 106 Estate Planning.

John Round

B.B.A., University of Florida
J.D., St. Mary's University
LL.M., Taxation, University of Florida
Senior St. Mary's Law Journal

John Round has 28 years of experience advising clients on all phases of estate planning probate and trust law. His practice involves the preparation of wills and trusts, marital deduction trusts, life insurance trusts, minor's trusts, charitable trusts, private foundations, tax exempt entities, gift planning, marital property agreements, and estate and business planning for closely-held businesses including Family Limited Partnerships. He is also active in estate, trust and fiduciary administration practices including: probate and trust litigation, litigation practice involving fiduciary duties and responsibilities, probate and trust administration, gift tax return preparation, estate and inheritance tax return preparation, and gift and estate tax audit and litigation.

Mr. Round currently serves as chair of Strasburger's Taxes, Estate Planning & Employee Benefits Practice and regularly teaches SMU CPFP 106 Estate Planning.

John Williams

CFP® (Certified Financial Planner)

B.S., Actuarial Science, Drake University

John Williams is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® certificant specializing in retirement issues. Previously Mr. Williams was a Principal and Senior Retirement Consultant with Mercer. He has over thirty years of experience in providing services to individuals and companies in administration, design, funding, and accounting of retirement plans and post-retirement welfare plans. His experience includes all facets of retirement plan management efforts, including strategy, design, and ongoing financial management. He has experience with the various aspects of retirement plans and postretirement welfare plans such as: Projections of retirement needs and funding of targeted retirement benefits; Valuing of executive benefit packages and projections for estate planning purposes; Design of retirement programs to meet business, financial and workforce objectives; Managing the financial impacts of retirement plans on the corporation’s balance sheet and income statement; Analyzing changes in funding regulations, funding policies, actuarial assumptions, and investment returns on long term retirement plan goals; Development of specific plan changes to support workforce needs, such as plan terminations and early retirement windows; Broad-based consulting on retirement plan compliance issues, including nondiscrimination testing, government forms and other required statutory issues.

Vickie Wise

CFP® (Certified Financial Planner)
B.S.B.A., Financial Management, University of Arkansas

Vickie Wise has spent over 25 years in progressively responsible roles within the financial services industry.  In her current role as Senior Vice President of BOSC, Inc.*, a position she has held for over 15 years, she works with both the high net worth clients of The Private Bank, as well as many of the non-profit clients of Bank of Texas, helping to manage and invest their funds and providing comprehensive wealth management strategies, utilizing the expertise of estate planning and tax planning professionals.

Previously, Ms. Wise spent two years working for Morgan Keegan, a premier regional investment firm.  Prior to joining Morgan Keegan, she spent over eight years working for Llama Company, the investment banking firm wholly owned by the Sam Walton family.  Her tenure at Llama Company included over four years as an investment banker in the Municipal Finance Division, working with public entities to issue debt and/or raise funds for capital expenditures, before transferring to the Sales Division of the company for another four years.

Vickie is a Certified Financial Planner® and holds a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) in Financial Management from the University of Arkansas.  She also holds the Texas Life, Health & Accident License, as well as the Property & Casualty License, in addition to the Series 7, 63 and 65 Securities Licenses.  She is also currently finishing up the coursework that will earn her the Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) designation.  Vickie was named a 2013 Dallas/Fort Worth Five Star Wealth Manager.

*BOSC, Inc., is a full service broker dealer firm, investment affiliate of Bank of Texas and wholly-owned subsidiary of BOK Financial.

Vickie Wise teaches SMU CPFP 101 Fundamentals of Financial Planning.

Rowena Zhang 

C.F.A. (Chartered Financial Analyst)
C.P.A (Certified Public Accountant)
M.B.A., Texas A & M University

Rowena Zhang is the Investment Officer at City of Dallas. She directly manages $2 billion of total asset in the investment portfolios with annual trading volume exceeding $1 billion. She applies portfolio management techniques and risk management skills to ensure funds are invested in a manner which provide security and optimize investment returns to the maximum extent possible while meeting the short-term and long-term cash flow demands of the City. Her prior career experiences include working as project manager at City of Dallas Auditor’s Office, senior accountant at a CPA firm, and international investment banker at the headquarters of Industrial Bank Co., Ltd in China.

Rowena is a Certified Financial Analyst (CFA) charterholder. She also holds multiple professional credentials including Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Certified Internal Auditor (CIA), Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), and Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE).

Rowena teaches SMU CPFP 103 Investments. 


Get Started!

  • Choose a starting date. Students may join the SMU Program in April or September on the main campus in Dallas, or in January at SMU-in-Plano.
  • Choose a track. Students may elect to take one course per quarter, on the Traditional Path, or take 2 courses per quarter on the Pacesetter Path (at a discounted rate). Students in the SMU CPFP in Plano program move through the program one course at at time, at an accelerated pace; each of the seven courses in the program are taught in 6-week modules. For an overview of the course paths, click here.
  • Enroll in an Information Session. New online information sessions coming soon! These on-demand sessions are packed with information about the SMU Program and the CFP® certification process. Join our mailing list to be notified when the new session is available.
  • Meet program instructors, view prerequisites and course fees.
  • Complete the program application. Click here to complete the SMU program application process.
  • Register for class. After the application has been approved, students may enroll online, by phone, or by fax. Traditional Path and Plano students begin the program with course 101; Pacesetter Path students begin with courses 101 and 103.

Current Students

Are you a current student? If you have questions as you progress through the Financial Planning Certificate Program, please call the office at 214.768.2273.

Smart Option Loans

Loans for the Plano cohort are available from Sallie Mae.


Please contact Karoline Staton, Senior Recruitment Specialist, at caperecruiter@smu.edu or 214-768-1086.