Certified financial planner professionals report very high satisfaction with their career choice and decision to obtain the CFP certification, according to a new survey by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards.

As of May 31, there were 77,880 CFP professionals, an increase of more than 4,000 since 2015. The 2017 Survey of CFP Professionals was conducted via telephone conversations with 800 CFP professionals in late May and early June using a random sample..

The survey results provide an in-depth picture of CFPs’ perceptions of the value of their CFP certification, its impact on their careers, and their views of the CFP Board and the financial planning profession. A version of the survey was last conducted in 2015.

According to the survey, 91% are very satisfied with their career choice in financial planning, with 72% giving the highest rating to career satisfaction — a five-point increase from the 2015 survey.

CFP professionals believe they have a “competitive edge” over financial planners who do not hold the credential, with 83% affirming this in the survey. And 77% of respondents strongly agree that the CFP certification contributes directly to their own professional success.

A majority (66%) also feel that becoming a CFP professional had a positive impact on their income.

Nearly all of those surveyed (91%) said they would recommend the CFP certification to other financial professionals.

The survey also measures CFP professionals’ views of CFP Board’s priorities and initiatives, and the financial planning profession overall.

The survey asked CFPs’ view of the CFP Board’s Public Awareness Campaign, which features a mix of paid advertising and earned media.

According to 69% of those surveyed, the campaign is worth the additional certification fee. And 54% say they are satisfied with the overall effectiveness of the Public Awareness Campaign.

Some of the respondents’ clients have even mentioned the Public Awareness Campaign. According to the survey, 24% of respondents say at least one client has mentioned the campaign, which is a seven-point increase from the 2015 survey. 

The survey then asked survey respondents their views on CFP Board’s Standards of Professional Conduct. According to the survey, 84% say that the standards provide them with “necessary guidance for delivering financial planning services to [their] clients with the highest ethical conduct,” which is a two-point increase from the 2015 survey.

The CFP Board recently proposed revisions to its standards, of which the 60-day public comment period on the draft proposal ended. The “big change” to the standards is the extension of the fiduciary duty to cover all financial advice.

According to the survey, 88% agree that a “fiduciary standard is appropriate for all financial service providers who deliver personalized investment advice to retail investors.”

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