Chris Laakso earns Certificate in Retirement Planning from The University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School

                                                                                                   Houston, Texas - August 21, 2013

Chris Laakso, a financial professional with Equitable Advisors in Houston, has earned a Certificate in Retirement Planning from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.  He is one of the select financial professionals nationwide to complete this retirement planning education program.

The retirement education program is a customized program developed for Equitable to provide Equitable Advisors’ financial professionals with intensive training in retirement planning. The Wharton School is recognized around the world for its academic strengths at every level of business education.

The Wharton program commenced with 50 hours of intensive study taught by 10 Wharton School faculty members over a weeklong period.  It was led by Dr. Olivia Mitchell, the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans Professor at The Wharton School. She is also Professor of Insurance and Risk Management, and Professor of Business Economics and Public Policy. Topics covered included: 

  • Understanding the Retirement Marketplace
  • Identifying, Mitigating and Insuring Retirement Risks
  • Qualified and Non-Qualified Plans and their Roles in Retirement Planning
  • Medicare and Social Security – Dealing with Institutional Risk
  • Asset Allocation and Diversification
  • Real Estate in the Retirement Portfolio
  • Estate Planning and Tax Issues in Retirement

Individuals who complete the retirement planning education program at Wharton are required to complete ongoing continuing education provided by Wharton’s Learning Continuum and Equitable.

“AXA and The Wharton School have developed an extraordinary program focused on concepts and issues for the At Retirement® marketplace,” said Dr. Mitchell, the academic director for the program.  “Selected on the basis of their work in value and relationship management, participants will strengthen their retirement risk-management and financial asset allocation techniques for their clients in the future.”

"This program supports Equitable Advisors’ overall commitment to giving financial professionals access to continuing education programs that help them provide clients with comprehensive guidance on a broad range of financial topics,” said Andrew McMahon, president of Equitable and chairman of Equitable Advisors. “Wharton is a leader in management research, education and knowledge creation, and this program gives our financial professionals access to some of the best minds on retirement planning issues.”

“The Wharton School is extraordinarily engaged with the Equitable leadership in linking top-notch financial sector producers and academics, communicating “outside the box” thought on financial strategy and decision-making for the At Retirement® marketplace,” Dr. Mitchell said.

Chris joined Equitable as an associate planner in 2001. He was part of the prestigious Hawkins District in the Houston office. His primary focus was developing a financial  practice through personal and professional relationships. In 2005, he teamed up with his mentor, George Hawkins, to form the Hawkins Laakso Group (HLG) which is now known as Hawkins Laakso Wealth Management (HLWM).  Chris' role as one of the Managing Partners of WLWM has been Financial Planning and Asset Protection. He has clients in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin.

In 2003, Chris was recognized by the Hawkins District with the Bronze Achievement award for his outstanding production and leadership. In 2005, Chris was given the "DSF of the Year - Houston Branch" award and the "National Leaders Corp" award. In 2007 and 2008 Chris received the "Centurion" award for outstanding production in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.

Chris holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting and Information Systems from the University of Colorado at Boulder as well as the following FINRA licenses: Series 7 - General Securities Representative, Series 63 - Uniform Securities Agent, Series 66 - Uniform Combined State Law License and the General Lines Insurance License. Additionally, through the Equitable Learning Center, he has completed numerous credentialing programs in his area of focus.

Chris served as the President of the University of Colorado Alumni Association Houston Chapter from 2002-2004 and as Committee Chair on the Board of Directors for the University of Colorado at Boulder Alumni Association from 2002-2006.  Currently, he serves as a Professional Mentor for the University of Colorado, Leeds School of Business.  Chris volunteers with the Shell Houston Open since 2003.

Founded in 1881 as the first collegiate business school, The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania has approximately 5,000 undergraduate, MBA, and doctoral students, more than 9,000 participants in its executive education programs annually, and an alumni network of more than 90,000 worldwide.

Financial services available to individuals and business owners through Equitable Advisors include: strategies and products for financial protection and investments; asset allocation, college, retirement, business and estate planning strategies; life insurance, annuity and investment products, including mutual funds.  Securities products are offered through Equitable Advisors, NY, NY, member FINRA, SIPC, 10104 (212) 314-4600. Investment advisory services and products are offered through Equitable Advisors, an investment advisor registered with the SEC Insurance and annuity products are available through an affiliate, Equitable Network, LLC and its subsidiaries. Hawkins Laasko Wealth Management is not a registered investment advisor, and is not owned or operated by Equitable Advisors or Equitable Network.


CFP® and CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ are certification marks owned by the Certified Financial Planners Board of Standards, Inc.  These marks are awarded to individuals who successfully complete the CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements. 

About Equitable

In business since 1859, Equitable Life Insurance Company (NY, NY) is a leading financial protection company and one of the nation’s premier providers of life insurance, annuity, and financial products and services. The company’s products and services are distributed to individuals and business owners through its retail distribution channel, Equitable Advisors (member FINRA, SIPC) and to the financial services market through its wholesale distribution channel, Equitable Distributors, LLC. Find Equitable on Facebook and Twitter or visit the company’s multi-media newsroom The Source @ Equitable.

Equitable, a subsidiary of Equitable Financial Inc., is part of the global Equitable Group, a worldwide leader in financial protection strategies and wealth management. “Equitable Group” refers to Equitable, a French holding company for an international group of insurance and financial services companies together with its direct and indirect consolidated subsidiaries. For more information, visit

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