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CFP's DEC Stepping Down

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At its January 17-18, 2008 meeting, the Directors of the CFP Board of Standards unanimously decided to delegate to the CEO the authority to “appoint the Chair, members and volunteers” of the Disciplinary and Ethics Commission, and to “oversee the DEC.” These decisions vest unfettered authority in the CEO to control the composition of the Commission, as well as the practices, processes and procedures the Commission employs in fulfilling its duties. These decisions run counter to entire history of autonomy and independence granted to the DEC and its predecessor, the Board of Professional Review (BOPR) as a peer review body.

These decisions were announced for the first time to the DEC at the March 6-8, 2008 hearings. We feel strongly that these decisions have such great potential to undermine the independence of the DEC in the exercise of its judicial functions that we are unable to fulfill our responsibilities as Commission members. Delegating to staff the power to select, appoint and dismiss Commissioners eliminates peer control from what has been true peer review process. This will inevitably distort the deliberative process and decision-making of the DEC. This is a profound structural change that will damage the peer review process of the DEC and thereby damage the CFP mark and diminish the profession.

Our dedication and commitment to the integrity of the mark is unwavering. We welcome the opportunity to discuss these important issues with the Board of Directors.

However, the undersigned are unwilling to continue to serve as Commissioners under these circumstances. Therefore we hereby resign as Commissioners from the DEC effective the close of business meeting on March 8, 2008.

Harv Ames, CFP, Co-Chair 2008

Barry Kohler, CFP, Chair Elect 2009

James Williams, CFP

Diana Simpson, CFP, Co-Chair 2008

Gracy Worley, CFP

[Editor's Note: This is a copy of the letter sent to the CFP Board of Directors. The entire White Paper is available here.]

Can’t We All Just Get Along

I enjoyed reading Olivia Mellan’s article, “Polarized Images” (The Psychology of Advice, IA April 2008). How true this is!

One issue you might consider is how much polarization there is in our own profession divided mostly among compensation models—fee, commission, broker/dealer, fiduciary, etc. (For the record, I’m a CPA/CFP who owns a fee-based (not fee-only) planning firm.) I recently visited NAPFA website, and was quite appalled at its sanctimonious and self-righteous tone. I think they/we need to get off our collective high horse and focus on serving our clients.

Hoon Kang

Elliott Bay Advisors

Kirkland, Washington

About Those Cards

What a terrific article! I’m referring to “Impressionist” in the February issue. Upon finishing, I wrote a personal note to our building’s receptionist (not my employee) thanking her for the wonderful energy she brings to her work of greeting my clients upon their arrival.

I would like to be sure I understand something. In the “Take Pride” section, I read that the “forefinger and thumb on each of the top two corners of the card” and believe it means using two hands. Is this accurate?

Peter Listino

Media, Pennsylvania

[This more formal approach requires one to present and accept business cards using two hands.--Ed.]