Survey Finds CFPs Satisfied With Careers

Jump also in number of CFPs who are 'very satisfied' with their career choice

(Editor's note: An earlier version of this story miscalculated the timing of recent events that alter the original angle of the story. The controversy surrounding the fee-only planner designation began in earnest after former CFP Board Chairman Alan Goldfarb was sanctioned on June 18; the survey was conducted from late May to early June. The statistics presented here are not connected to the recent controversy, and the story has been changed to reflect this.)

Nearly two-thirds (63%) of CFPs say the CFP Board’s services meet their expectations, according to a just-released survey by the CFP Board.

That is a big jump from the 48% who felt this way in 2011, when the survey was last conducted.

The telephone survey of a random sample of 803 certified financial planners was conducted in late May and early June by Fondulas Strategic Research, and provides what the CFP Board says is an “in-depth picture” of CFP professionals’ perceptions of the value of their CFP certification, its impact on their careers, and their views of the CFP Board and the financial planning profession.

The survey found that 91% of the CFPs polled said they were “very satisfied” with their career choice in financial planning — a six-point increase from the 2011 survey — and that 92% of the CFP respondents were very satisfied with their decision to pursue CFP certification.

Sixty-four percent of respondents also said that becoming a CFP professional had a positive impact on their income.

“The support of our nearly 69,000 CFP professionals is important to CFP Board’s work, especially as we continue to strengthen our standards and ensure that the public seeks financial advice from competent and ethical financial planning professionals,” said CFP Board CEO Kevin Keller in releasing the survey results.

Other key findings from the survey include:

  • 76% of respondents strongly agree that the CFP certification contributes directly to their own professional success
  • 87% say that they work directly with clients as their primary professional role — a 4% increase from the 2011 survey
  • 91% say they would recommend the CFP certification to other financial professionals.

The survey also found that CFP professionals "strongly believe" in the importance of CFP Board’s priorities and initiatives:

  • 86% of respondents say that CFP Board should pursue a public awareness campaign featuring advertising, such as CFP Board’s “Let’s Make A Plan” campaign.
  • 97% of respondents agree with the statement that “financial planning should be a recognized profession”
  • 84% agree that a “fiduciary standard of care is appropriate for all financial service” professionals
  • 81% say that CFP Board’s Standards of Professional Conduct provides them with “necessary guidance for delivering financial planning services to my clients with the highest ethical conduct” – a five point increase from the 2011 survey.

The CFP Board has been embroiled in controversy recently over its definition of "fee-only" advisors and its consideration of entering the continuing education business, which it is in charge of regulating.

In a survey conducted this summer by the Financial Planning Association, 54% of CFPs said it would be a conflict of interest for the Board to offer its own CE programs, ThinkAdvisor blogger Bob Clark recently reported.

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