For CFP® Professionals

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Professional Standards & Enforcement


CFP Board’s Standards of Professional Conduct ("Standards"), which set forth the ethical standards for CFP® professionals, are actively enforced through an investigative and disciplinary process described in the Disciplinary Rules and Procedures. Enforcement of the ethical standards for CFP® certificants is one of the key elements that distinguishes the CFP® certification from other financial credentials, and CFP Board is committed to maintaining a disciplinary process that is fair to the certificants whose conduct comes under scrutiny and one that is credible to the public.

Standards of Professional Conduct

On May 31, 2007, the Board of Directors of Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board) announced the adoption of an updated Standards of Professional Conduct. The updated Standards have an effective date of July 1, 2008 and an enforcement date of January 1, 2009.

Review the Standards of Professional Conduct online

Download the Standards of Professional Conduct (PDF, 1.3MB)

Effective Date: July 1, 2008
Enforcement Date: January 1, 2009

CFP Board applies the previous edition of the Standards of Professional Conduct to conduct occurring in 2008 and earlier. Learn more about the 2008 Standards of Professional Conduct >


Enforcement 

CFP Board's rigorous enforcement of its Standards of Professional Conduct — including releasing disciplinary information to the public — distinguishes the CFP® certification from the many other designations in the financial services industry. Everyone who seeks CFP® certification is subject to a background check, and those whose past conduct falls short of CFP Board's ethical and practice standards can be barred from becoming certified. After attaining certification, a CFP® professional who violates CFP Board's ethical and practice standards becomes subject to disciplinary action up to the permanent revocation of certification. CFP Board is committed to maintaining a disciplinary process that is fair to the certificants whose conduct comes under scrutiny and one that is credible to the public.

Review CFP Board’s Disciplinary Rules and Procedures
Download a diagram of CFP Board’s disciplinary process (PDF, 101KB)

Review CFP Board’s Appeal Rules and Procedures (PDF, 74KB)
Download a diagram of CFP Board’s appeal process (PDF, 70KB)

Review CFP Board’s Sanction Guidelines (PDF, 461KB)

Look Up Anonymous Case Histories


Compliance Resources

CFP Board has developed a variety of resources to assist CFP® professionals understand and meet their obligations under CFP Board’s Standards of Professional Conduct. Resources include:

  • Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
  • Sample Disclosure Forms and Client Agreement Forms
  • Webinars and Multimedia Presentations
  • Anonymous Case Histories: Summaries of actual disciplinary cases

Review Compliance Resources from CFP Board


Recent Updates

Notice to CFP® Professionals: Fee Only Description in "Find a CFP® Professional" Search Tool

On September 20, 2013, CFP Board sent CFP® professionals who had listed "Fee Only" in their search tool profiles a notice with important information about the need to verify the accuracy of the compensation structure reflected in their profiles.

 Download the Notice (PDF, 34KB)

Notice to CFP® Professionals: Importance of Accurate Compensation Disclosures

On August 7, 2013, CFP Board issued a notice to CFP® professionals regarding the importance of compensation disclosures to clients.  The Notice provides an important reminder that CFP® professionals are required to disclose to clients and prospective clients information concerning the CFP® professional’s compensation.  The purpose of the Notice is to remind CFP® professionals of both the scope of the term “compensation” and the obligation to make accurate disclosures of compensation methods on all public websites, including on related-party websites, public search engines, and public disclosure forms, including Form ADV.  Disclosures of compensation methods must remain accurate throughout each client relationship.

Download the Notice (PDF, 67KB)

Advisory Opinion: Conflicts of Interest between CFP® Professionals and Clients
In their day-to-day business, it is not uncommon for CFP® professionals to face decisions about whether a particular action or circumstance constitutes a conflict of interest. In response to recent increases in the number of conflict of interest cases reviewed by CFP Board, CFP Board presents this Advisory Opinion to provide guidance to CFP® professionals concerning conflicts of interest in order to help CFP® professionals address conflicts of interest in compliance with CFP Board’s Standards of Professional Conduct.

Download the Advisory Opinion (PDF, 75KB)

CFP Board Adopts Amendments to its Disciplinary Rules and Procedures and Appeal Rules and Procedures, Effective January 1, 2013:
In November 2012, CFP Board's Board of Directors approved the adoption of amendments to CFP Board's Disciplinary Rules and Procedures (Disciplinary Rules) and its Appeal Rules and Procedures (Appeal Rules), with an effective date of January 1, 2013.

The amendments to the Disciplinary Rules clarify ambiguities, eliminate inconsistencies and ensure that CFP Board's disciplinary process is fair and credible to all participants. Through its Disciplinary Rules CFP Board enforces the Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility, Rules of Conduct and Financial Planning Practice Standards and establishes a process for applying the Standards of Professional Conduct to actual professional activities.

The approval of the amendments to the Disciplinary Rules by the Board of Directors follows the careful and thoughtful review of comments received during a 45-day comment period held from August 2012 through October 2012. During that comment period, CFP Board received a total of nine comments. A Majority of the commenters approved of the amendments to the Disciplinary Rules. CFP Board appreciates everyone who took time to provide feedback on the proposed amendments to the Disciplinary Rules during the comment period.

Read the full text of CFP Board's Disciplinary Rules and Procedures (PDF, 105KB)

Read comments received by CFP Board (PDF, 57KB)

The amendments to the Appeal Rules streamline the appeal process, clarify the "clearly erroneous" standard of review and ensure that CFP Board's appeal process is fair and credible to all participants. The Appeal Rules govern the procedure of appeals from orders of CFP Board's Disciplinary and Ethics Commission and appeals from Administrative Orders issued by CFP Board.

The approval of the amendments to the Appeal Rules by the Board of Directors follows the careful and thoughtful review of comments received during a 45-day comment period held from August 2012 through October 2012. During that comment period, CFP Board received a total of 10 comments. A majority of the commenters did not oppose the amendments to the Appeal Rules. CFP Board appreciates everyone who took time to provide feedback on the proposed amendments to the Appeal Rules during the comment period.

Read the full text of CFP Board's Appeal Rules and Procedures (PDF, 73KB)

Read comments received by CFP Board (PDF, 51KB) 


Questions?

Contact CFP Board at 800-487-1497 or compliance@cfpboard.org.

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