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Financial Planning > Behavioral Finance

Gotta Pay Your (CFP Board) Dues, if You Wanna Sing the Blues

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This is what I love about the CFP Board: You can always count on them for a good laugh. Honestly, writing about financial planners wouldn’t be half as much fun without them. Through the years, the players change, CEOs come and go, Boards rotate in and out, offices relocate, and through it all, somehow, the Board has kept its uncanny ability to act absurdly at exactly the wrong time. In humor, timing is everything; and you either got it, or you don’t.

As soon as I stop laughing too hard to type, I’ll tell you about the Board’s latest contribution to my amusement; but if you’re a CFP, you undoubtedly already know about it. Seems the comedic geniuses who oversee the CFP mark have recently started floating the idea of raising the “dues” to be a CFP; in fact, almost doubling them, from the current $15 a month, to $27 a month, effective next summer, if the Board approves the measure.

Despite some reports in the press that CFPs are behind it, and the CFP Board’s own internal polls that show 83% of CFPs would support “an increase” (I told you, these guys are funny), the CFPs that I know are less than sanguine about doubling down with the Board this Fall. Mostly that’s because of the brilliant timing of the higher dues thing: While the rest of the one-million strong retail advisory community is holding its collective breath, awaiting the SEC’s conclusion about a fiduciary duty for brokers in particular, and the restructuring of financial advisory regulation in general, the Board (dare I say, once again?) seems to be cooking on another planet.

The punch line? The Board wants to use this windfall to launch an ad campaign to boost the awareness of financial planning, by the same agency that brought us Fidelity’s Green Line, and Progressive Insurance’s wisecracking, sneaker-clad Flo.

So as the greatest reregulation of financial advice in 70 years hangs in the balance, (in which the CFP Board and it’s “FP Coalition” have been largely marginalized due to its myopic focus on the question of financial planning which no one was asking) their solution is to come up with another Gekko? For which CFPs get to pay an extra $12 a month?

I’m telling you, these guys are priceless.