A proposed rule by the Massachusetts Security Division, which would prohibit financial services professionals from using misleading professional designations has received the public endorsement of the Financial Planning Association.
In an FPA release Robert Neill, assistant director of government relations in Washington, D.C., was quoted as saying, “There are way too many titles floating around out there which imply expertise where none exists. The public is entitled to a little truth in advertising by their financial adviser.”
The FPA stated in its letter to the Massachusetts Securities Division that there are, “a bewildering number of designations currently in use in the marketplace that denote high levels of experience and expertise when, in fact, many are essentially marketing tools and nothing more.”
While this is the first instance of a state attempting to place limitations on the professional designations used by broker-dealer agents and investment adviser representatives, it is believed that other states considering the limitations, will closely study the Massachusetts rule. It was the precedent-setting nature of the regulation that spurred FPA to urge the Division “to develop uniform and objective criteria to ensure that meaningful designations are not included in the prohibition.”
FPA also asked that the Securities Division view the CFP mark as an example of the type of designation that embodies reliability and expertise because of the comprehensive education, experience and ethics requirements enforced by CFP Board. The FPA release noted that 70% of FPA’s 28,000 members are CFP certificants.
FPA’s letter to the Massachusetts Securities Division can be read online at: www.fpanet.org/member/govt_relation/comments/index.cfm.