May 5, 2013

CFP Board’s CE Plan Rattles FPA Retreat Attendees

FPA members strongly object to regulatory body entering CE provider market

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We are not amused.

That was the clear message from attendees of FPA Retreat 2013 in Palm Springs, Calif., to the announcement during a town hall meeting on Sunday that the CFP Board is considering a plan to enter the continuing education provider market.

CFP Board logoThe CFP Board, which is currently tasked with setting the standards and regulating CFP CE providers, would now become a provider itself if the plan were eventually approved.

“It’s a conflict of interest and a serious threat to the profession and the credibility of the CFP mark,” FPA president Michael Branham said when stating the FPA's position on the matter.

Branham stressed that the CFP Board is at this time only exploring the idea of entering the CE provider market.

Michael Kitces, director of research for Pinnacle Advisory Group (and AdvisorOne contributor), compared the CFP Board’s plan to a hypothetical situation in which the SEC “suddenly announced it would open an RIA that was direct-to-consumer for financial advice, while still regulating the rest of us. The conflict of interest is so apparent; I don’t see how it would work.”

“The CFP Board has one task, and it’s a sacred task—to protect the credibility of the CFP mark, even if that means certain limitations,” said Richard Wagner of Denver-based WorthLiving.

Branham took pains to note the FPA was grateful to the CFP Board for sharing the information, and added he did not want FPA Retreat attendees to go after the CFP Board members in attendance with “pitchforks and torches.”

However, CFP Board member Nancy Kistner addressed the crowd, saying the announcement was simply made as a possible option to help raise the quality of CFP continuing education.

“We appreciate the feedback and dialogue,” Kistner said. “This is all part of the conversation, and yes, the conversation is an unpleasant one, but I ask you to continue to be open in expressing your views.”

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View complete AdvisorOne coverage of FPA Retreat 2013 on our Retreat landing page.

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