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Financial Planning > Behavioral Finance

CFP Board Maps Out Ethics and Standards, With Charts

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To help certified financial planners better understand the code of ethics and standards of conduct, and comply with new rules that take effect Oct. 1, the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards has released a Roadmap for quick reference. The Roadmap provides charts and graphics that include guidelines of fiduciary duty — what applies at all times when providing advice and when providing financial planning — as well as steps outlining the complete ethics and standards requirements.

“This Roadmap boils down the essential information that CFP professionals need to know,” Leo Rydzewski, the CFP Board’s general counsel, said in a statement. “At the same time, it provides resources that give clear, detailed information about when the code and standards apply.”

The Roadmap also includes:

  • A reference guide to providing information to a client in all financial advice meetings, as well as for financial planning engagements.
  • A compliance guide for all financial advice and for planning engagements
  • A reference guide to the practice standards for the financial planning process.

For example, Under “Duty to Provide Information to Client,” Step 1 covers understanding the client’s personal and financial circumstances. Flow charts appear under headings of financial advice and financial planning, breaking down the information that needs to be provided in each situation, written or orally.

In another section, practice standards for financial planning are outlined, and tips are provided to make sure that the advisor hasn’t missed any information needed from the client and that the information is checked for inconsistencies.

Also provided are examples of qualitative and quantitative objective information required. For example, qualitative information includes health, life expectancy, family circumstances and values, while quantitative information includes age, dependents, cash flow and employee benefits.

Step 2 goes on to identify and select goals, while Step 3 illustrates options to analyze the client’s current course of action and what needs to be done to alter it. Steps 4 and 5 cover recommendations to the client and how to present them. In steps 6 and 7, flow charts detail how to implement the recommendations and monitor their progress.

This nifty multi-page guide offers a quick glance for advisors to make sure they are following the codes and ethics required of them. It’s accessible at the CFP Board website, along with videos and FAQs.

— Check out CFP Board Releases Career Best Practices Guide on ThinkAdvisor.


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