From the June 2010 issue of Investment Advisor • Subscribe!

Long-Term Progress Reported by Financial Planning Coalition

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Speaking in San Antonio on April 23 during the FPA Retreat of the Coalition for Financial Planning's progress in having its voice heard in Washington, Marilyn Capelli Dimitroff, the CFP Board's immediate past director, said "our people have met with all 23 of the senators on the banking committee," echoing FPA president Tom Potts's earlier statement at the same session that the staff of the three groups in the Coalition--the FPA, the CFP Board, and NAPFA--"meet almost daily" on the Coalition's business, while the "volunteers," indicating the elected leadership of the three groups, "speak to each other weekly."

Bill Baldwin, one of those "volunteers" who serves as the current chairman of NAPFA, thanked several staff members of the coalition for their work, specifically Dan Barry of FPA, Nancy Hradsky of the National Association of Personal Financial Planners (NAPFA), and Marilyn Mohrman-Gillis of the CFP Board.

In an interview on May 12, Potts expanded on the FPA's priorities in Washington as it related to the fiduciary issue in general and consumers in particular. "We're trying to clarify" the issue for consumers, he said, trying to remove "the confusion" clients might have over what they can expect from a relationship with an advisor or broker. "They don't see the fine lines," he said, referring to clients; "we'd like a bright line." Stressing that the FPA is "compensation- and business-model neutral," Potts said the association and the Coalition believe there still remains a "window of opportunity to make serious change right now," though he stressed as well that protecting the consumer and fighting for a fiduciary standard for all advice givers is a longer-term issue.

Speaking of bright lines, or the lack thereof, during that April 23 Town Hall meeting an outraged attendee spoke of The American College's lobbying against extending a fiduciary duty to all advice givers. Capelli Dimitroff responded by acknowledging that "we are up against" some powerful, wealthy organizations that "don't want change" and instead "like the ambiguity."

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