You may have heard about the ongoing CFP Board controversy over its consideration of entering the CFP continuing education business. The Board announced it was looking into its own CE programs last March, but wouldn’t make a final decision until its fall board meeting which takes place later this week, so things have been heating up of late.
The FPA leadership voiced its opposition to the idea at its annual convention a couple weeks ago in Orlando (see John Sullivan’s Oct. 20 “FPA Addresses CFP Board Controversies” article), and recently released a letter to the Board spelling out its concerns. While the Board has stated it’s concerned about the current quality of existing CFP continuing ed programs, the real reasoning behind such a backward step is far from clear.
If nothing else, the timing is a bit suspect. Usually, the first question asked by the CFPs I’ve talked to about the Board’s offering CE credits is: “Is this really the most important thing on the CFP Board’s plate right now?” A good question it is. With another shoe seeming to drop every week in the Board’s fee-only-gate (the resignation of three senior Board members, the Camarda lawsuit, the resignation of the recently hired director of investigations, the listing of hundreds of brokers on the CFP website as “fee-only”), one might think concerns over low-quality CE programs would be pretty far down the Board’s list.
What’s more, continuing ed seems to be pretty far down most CFPs’ lists, too. In a survey conducted this summer of some 1229 of its members who are CFPs, the FPA found that 71% believe there are enough high-quality CE opportunities, and 72.5% said quality CE programs are easy to find, while only 16.4% agreed that the CFP Board should “develop/deliver/sell CE programs directly to CFP Certificants.”
When asked if they believe it is a conflict of interest for the CFP Board to enter the CE provider marketplace, 53.6% of CFP respondents said yes, with only 23.5% saying no: a ratio of 2.3 to 1.