I read your article “Board to Death: Reloaded,” (Bob Clark’s monthly column, Clark at Large) in the September 2006 issue, and am not really sure where you stand.
Perhaps it is time that the CFP Board acknowledge that they really do not have the financial nor operational resources to regulate the planning world and just promote the CFP mark as educational.
I know that if the proposed ethics guidelines are issued as suggested that they do a disservice to the public. I am also not suggesting that all CFPs must act as fiduciaries because obviously the wirehouses would not allow that. Realism must trump misplaced idealism when dealing with this subject.
Morris Armstrong, CFP ,ChFC, CDFA
Armstrong Financial Strategies
The controversy over the CFP Board’s proposed revisions to its Code of Ethics and Practice Standards continues, and is likely to last well beyond Board CEO Sarah Teslik’s departure in October (see News article on page 23).
As for Mr. Clark’s feelings on the subject, perhaps this related post he made at the IA Exchange Ethics Watch discussion board will clear up any confusion (though it was not written in response to Mr. Armstrong’s letter).–Ed.
Let’s be sure we’re clear here. We’re talking about CFPs having a fiduciary duty; that is, the duty to put their clients’ interests first. If an employer will not let an advisor put their clients’ interest first (e.g., registered reps and insurance agents are legally obligated to put their company’s interests first), then maybe that advisor shouldn’t be holding themselves out as a CFP, a professional, or even a financial advisor at all. The question is what’s best for the public, which is the mission of the CFP Board and should be the mission of professional advisors–not what’s best for the advisor or her employer. Clearly a fiduciary duty is best for the clients. If an advisor doesn’t want the responsibility of being a professional, then why should they be allowed to use the CFP credential to masquerade as one?