Professions advance when dedicated professionals lead the way. For more than 30 years, the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards has relied on trusted leaders to advance the financial planning profession.
I remember vividly, just 10 years ago, when the CFP Board took a bold step in revising its Standards of Professional Conduct to require all CFP professionals to act as a fiduciary when providing financial planning. My predecessors on the Board of Directors at that time were volunteer leaders who hailed from all corners of the profession. They recognized that, as a professional body, the CFP Board has an important role in helping to shape the profession. Individually, each offered a unique perspective about what CFP Board should require. Collectively, they acted to advance the profession, benefit the public, and reinforce the great value of working with a CFP professional.
You can’t argue with the results. Since then, the number of CFP professionals has grown by 47% to an all-time high of more than 81,000 Americans who have satisfied the education, examination, experience and ethics requirements for CFP certification. According to Cerulli, this equates to one in four financial advisors.
CFP professionals operate under a wide variety of business models. Many of us are investment adviser representatives, registered representatives of a broker-dealer or insurance agents. Still others work in banks. Yet we all fall under the same CFP professional umbrella.
Throughout CFP Board’s history, so many of us have answered the call to volunteer service. CFP professionals from all regions of the country, of all ages, operating under every conceivable business and compensation model have devoted their time and energy to help the CFP Board build the financial planning profession. Volunteers have contributed to the certification examination, provided continuing education oversight, and shouldered the important responsibility of adjudicating alleged violations of the Standards of Professional Conduct. They volunteer their time because they care deeply about a profession that is ethical, competent and growing.
Additionally, we work closely with other volunteer leaders from the Financial Planning Coalition. Along with the Financial Planning Association and the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, we strive to increase awareness of the profession among policymakers. It’s this partnership among the three groups that makes the profession united and stronger than ever before.
Time and time again, a strong partnership between dedicated staff and committed volunteer leaders has enabled CFP Board to fulfill its important mission. We saw how this worked most recently with CFP Board’s revised Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct. In December 2015, CFP Board reached out to prominent members of the profession with a call to serve on a commission that would review and recommend changes to CFP Board’s Standards of Professional Conduct.