Bob Clark’s article in the January 2006 issue focused on recent speeches given by FPA Chair Jim Barnash and FPA President Dan Moisand at FPA’s annual conference last September. While FPA appreciates many of Mr. Clark’s remarks, we disagree with some of the speculation expressed in his column.
Mr. Clark suggests that FPA would support weakening standards for financial planning in order to boost membership numbers. This is not the case. Let me quote from Mr. Moisand’s speech:
“I…wish to be clear that while FPA is willing, even anxious to find common ground, FPA simply will not compromise its values or the profession’s standards….At a bare minimum, the public deserves a clear and accurate description of their advisor and the scope of their engagement with the advisor and the advisor’s firm.”
What was emphasized in San Diego and what you will continue to hear and see from FPA is the manifestation of choices FPA has made about how to treat people who haven’t fully committed to creating a world where financial planning is deemed a true profession.
We welcome as members of the Association anyone who aligns with FPA’s Primary Aim and Core Values. The answer to Mr. Clark’s question, “Are you prepared to have 15,000 members who meet ‘high’ standards?” is conceptually yes, if that is all there are who find importance in our ultimate goals of fostering the value of financial planning and advancing the financial planning profession. We doubt that will happen.
We do agree with Mr. Clark’s statement that there are folks who put their clients’ interest first “anyway.” Much of the concern, in FPA’s view, stems from the current regulatory environment, which does not support financial planning in a sensible manner. Financial planning, planners, and their clients deserve a regulatory structure that makes more sense. One reason volunteers such as Jim Barnash and Dan Moisand give their time to FPA is because they believe FPA is the only organization that has a chance to effect such a change. The regulatory bodies that have more direct impact on the creation and promulgation of quality standards and rules that apply to the delivery of financial planning services and the effectiveness of their enforcement are the focus of our advocacy efforts as we fight for the future of the financial planning profession.
With respect to the CFP marks, while referring to Mr. Barnash’s address, the column criticizes CFP Board for failure to “mention [fiduciary responsibility] in its canons of ethics.” Curious as that may be to your columnist, FPA still believes the CFP certification is the best thing going.
Readers can find complete transcripts of Mr. Moisand and Mr. Barnash’s speeches on FPA’s web site, .
Marvin W. Tuttle, Jr., CAE