On March 31, 2011, CFP Board announced the implementation of updated requirements for Ethics continuing education (CE) sponsors and programs, effective October 1, 2011. The Ethics CE program changes apply only to CE Sponsors which plan to offer CFP Board accepted Ethics CE.
The changes include new learning objectives requirements and new instructor eligibility requirements alongside the current content requirements, as described in the sections below.
All other Ethics CE program requirements remain unchanged, as outlined in the CFP Board Ethics Continuing Education Sponsor Agreement. This includes the requirement that the program focus exclusively on CFP Board’s ethical standards.
The changes to the Ethics CE program requirements follow CFP Board’s careful consideration of trends in complaints reviewed by CFP Board’s Professional Standards staff, comments from CFP Board’s Disciplinary Ethics Committee in their first hand experience conducting disciplinary hearings, and feedback received from CFP® professionals.
Current Content Requirements for CFP Board Ethics CE Programs
CFP Board’s current standards for CE programs on CFP Board’s Ethical Standards outline several content requirements, including those below:
- Programs are designed to satisfy the CFP® certification renewal requirement of 2 hours of continuing education on CFP Board’s Ethical Standards (which includes the Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility, Rules of Conduct and Financial Planning Practice Standards).
- Programs must consist of a detailed review of some aspect or aspects of CFP Board’s Ethical Standards exclusively for a minimum of 50 minutes per session hour.
- Sessions may focus on the complete set of CFP Board’s Ethical Standards, one aspect of CFP Board’s Ethical Standards, or multiple aspects of CFP Board’s Ethical Standards. Programs may make use of case studies taken from CFP Board’s Anonymous Case History and may also make use of fictitious scenarios that illustrate issues related to CFP Board’s Ethical Standards. However, fictitious scenarios may not be accompanied with predictions of actions CFP Board might take when presented with any fictitious scenario.
- Programs, including all related materials, must use the most updated version of CFP Board’s Ethical Standards, with updates to be made no later than six weeks after notification of changes to CFP Board’s Ethical Standards.
For more detail on CFP Board’s current standards for CE programs on CFP Board’s Ethical Standards, please consult the Ethics CE Sponsor Registration Agreement (PDF,1,800 KB).
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New Learning Objectives for CFP Board Ethics CE Programs
Effective October 1, 2011, Ethics CE programs registered with CFP Board must be designed to accomplish the following required learning objectives.
Upon successful completion of the course, the student should be able to:
- Demonstrate an understanding of, and be able to define financial planning, the financial planning process, and financial planning subject areas.
- Describe the material elements of financial planning.
- Determine if a CFP® professional is providing financial planning or material elements of financial planning.
- Demonstrate an understanding of the required elements of a written agreement when financial planning services are provided.
- Articulate disclosure requirements and apply disclosure requirements to their practices.
- Define and outline elements of the fiduciary standard and know when it applies.
Ethics CE programs may go beyond the learning objectives to include additional information specific to CFP Board’s ethical standards as outlined in the publication titled Standards of Professional Conduct. However, all Ethics CE programs must, at a minimum, address the required learning objectives.
CFP Board will evaluate the learning objectives every two years to ensure relevance and consistency with CFP Board’s ethical standards.
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New Instructor and Author Eligibility Requirements for CFP Board Ethics CE Programs
Effective October 1, 2011, instructors of live Ethics CE programs and authors of self-study Ethics CE programs registered with CFP Board must meet the following requirements.
The instructor or author of an Ethics CE program must:
- Hold current CFP® certification, with all CFP Board continuing education requirements up-to-date and all CFP Board renewal and other fees paid in full.
- Have held CFP® certification for 5 years or more.
- Not be the subject of a pending investigation by CFP Board or any federal or state regulator.
- Not have been the subject of a CFP Board discipline (i.e. private censure, public letter of admonition, or suspension) received within the past five years.
Individuals who do not meet all of the above criteria may submit a Policy Exception Request to CFP Board.
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Webinar: CFP Board Ethics CE Policy Updates
On May 25, 2011, CFP Board held a webinar to review the learning objectives and instructor eligibility requirements for Ethics CE programs in more detail. View the recording on YouTube >
Call CFP Board at 800-487-1497 or email email@example.com.