CFP® professionals agree to adhere to the high standards of ethics and practice outlined in CFP Board’s Standards of Professional Conduct (“Standards”) and to acknowledge CFP Board’s right to enforce them through its Disciplinary Rules and Procedures (“Disciplinary Rules”). This demonstrates to the public that you have agreed to provide personal financial planning in the client’s best interest and to act in accordance with the highest ethical and professional standards for the practice of financial planning.
Before being authorized to use the CFP® certification marks, and each time you renew your certification, you must disclose on the CFP® Certification Application information about your involvement in several types of matters, including any criminal, civil, self-regulatory organization or governmental agency inquiry, investigation or proceeding, bankruptcy, customer complaint, filing or termination/internal reviews conducted by your employer or firm. You must also acknowledge the right of CFP Board to enforce its Code of Ethics, Rules of Conduct and Practice Standards through its Disciplinary Rules and Procedures.
CFP Board conducts a detailed background review for all candidates, including review of any disclosures made on the CFP® Certification Application.
Please be aware that, if you disclose matters on your CFP® Certification Application, or if CFP Board discovers that you have been involved in matters that may or will bar you from obtaining certification, pursuant to CFP Board’s Fitness Standards for Candidates and Professionals Eligible for Reinstatement (“Fitness Standards”), your certification may be delayed pending CFP Board’s review of the matters. Additionally, if the matters involve serious misconduct, including, but not limited to the matters presumed to bar certification outlined in the Fitness Standards, CFP Board reserves the right to permanently deny you the right to obtain the CFP® certification. All such ethics reviews will be conducted in accordance with CFP Board’s Disciplinary Rules and Procedures.
The length of CFP Board’s investigation is directly dependent on the amount of time it takes to obtain documents from candidates and other sources that provide details of the conduct at issue. A candidate can help to expedite this process by locating documents and sending them to CFP Board upon CFP Board’s request.
Standards of Professional Conduct
The Standards include the Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility (“Code of Ethics”), Rules of Conduct and Financial Planning Practice Standards (“Practice Standards”).
Code of Ethics
CFP Board adopted the Code of Ethics to establish the highest principles and standards, centered around seven Principles: Integrity, Objectivity, Competence, Fairness, Confidentiality, Professionalism and Diligence. These Principles are general statements expressing the ethical and professional ideals CFP® professionals are expected to display in their professional activities. The Principles form the basis of CFP Board’s Rules of Conduct, Practice Standards and Disciplinary Rules, and these documents together reflect CFP Board’s recognition of CFP® professionals’ responsibilities to the public, clients, colleagues and employers.
Rules of Conduct
The Rules of Conduct establish the high standards expected of CFP® professionals and describe the level of professionalism required of certificants, including obligations and disclosure requirements for clients, employers and CFP Board.
The fiduciary standard is at the core of the Rules of Conduct: CFP® professionals are required to place the interest of their clients ahead of their own at all times. When CFP® professionals provide financial planning or material elements of financial planning, they owe to the client the duty of care of a fiduciary as defined by CFP Board: One who acts in utmost good faith, in a manner he or she reasonably believes to be in the best interest of the client.
The Rules of Conduct are binding on all CFP® professionals, regardless of their title, position, type of employment or method of compensation, and they govern all those who have the right to use the CFP® marks, whether or not those marks are actually used. The universe of activities engaged in by a CFP® professionals is diverse, and a certificant may perform all, some or none of the typical services provided by financial planning professionals. Violations of the Rules of Conduct may subject a CFP® professional to discipline.
The Practice Standards describe best practices of financial planning professionals providing professional services related to the six elements of the financial planning process. Each Standard is a statement relating to an element of the financial planning process, followed by an explanation of the Standard and its relationship to the Code of Ethics and Rules of Conduct. CFP Board developed the Practice Standards to advance professionalism in financial planning and enhance the value of the financial planning process, for the ultimate benefit of consumers of financial planning services. Violations of the Practice Standards may subject a CFP® professional to discipline.