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‘Meaningful Changes’ to CFP Standards Proposal May Come Soon: Aikin

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Blaine Aikin, who heads the board of directors of the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, says he expects “meaningful changes” to the proposed modifications of its Standards of Professional Conduct.

(Related: CFP Board Seeks to Impose ‘Strengthened’ Fiduciary Standard on All Advice)

Speaking to reporters attending the FPA’s annual conference in Nashville, Tennessee, Aikin said the CFP Board had received more than 1,300 comments on its proposed revisions, which would, among other changes, require CFPs to act as fiduciaries for clients always, not just when providing financial planning services, which is the current standard.

CFP Board’s Proposed Fiduciary Standard: Too Weak, Too Strong or Just Right?

The next “pivotal” decision about the proposed revisions will take place at the directors’ first meeting in November when board members will consider recommendations from the CFP’s Commision on Standards on how to proceed.

The board could decide to propose additional changes to the standards in response to the comments it’s received and/or could add another comment period, said Aikin. Once the proposal is finalized, the CFP Board will set a compliance date that will allow planners the ability to operate under the old or new standard for a time.

Neither Aikin nor other officials at the CFP Board would provide any details about what a final revision to its professional standards would look like.

“We’re in a quiet period now,” said Kevin Keller, CEO of the board. 

When asked about the SEC’s plans to develop its own fiduciary rule for advisors, Keller said it’s important “now more than ever” that there be one rule that covers taxable (nonretirement) accounts and nontaxable (retirement) accounts. The CFP board, which supports the Labor Department’s fiduciary rule and opposed the delay of its full implementation until July 2019, wants a single “harmonized standard” from the two agencies that doesn’t dilute the current fiduciary rule, said Aikin.