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Updates


November 13, 2013

CFP Board to Implement Multi-Year CE Quality Improvement Program

I am pleased to share with you that CFP Board’s Board of Directors (Board) recently adopted a resolution supporting CFP Board’s implementation of a new quality improvement initiatives for continuing education (CE), similar to practices utilized by the established professions. The Board also resolved that CFP Board would not enter the CE market as a provider at this time.

The new CE quality improvement initiatives adopted by the Board are modeled on the CE standards and program review processes of the CPA profession, which serve as a benchmark for a profession based on technical accuracy and regulatory compliance. CFP Board’s implementation of the program will include a number of short- and long-term initiatives to be implemented over the next three to five years, in partnership with CFP® professionals and CE Sponsors registered with CFP Board. With this plan, CFP Board will:

  • Collaborate with CE Sponsors to redirect the culture of the CE business to focus on quality;
  • Require CE Sponsors to state each program’s learning objectives, so that the attendees will know what they are expected to learn;
  • Require CE Sponsors to state the level of complexity (i.e., beginner, intermediate, advanced), so that the attendees can select content for their level of expertise;
  • Enhance auditing of CE programs by CFP Board staff;
  • Implement a complaint procedure for CFP® professionals to report concerns with CE programs;
  • Develop a recognition program for CE programs that meet high quality standards and receive positive feedback from CFP® professionals; and
  • Update CFP® professionals on the aggregate results of CFP Board’s CE programs audits.

We will update you as the components of our plan are implemented.  Please note that revisions to the registration processes for CE Sponsors and CE Programs will be put in place for the 2015 calendar year; any CE programs your FPA chapter plans to provide in 2014 may be registered through CFP Board’s current process.

The Board’s resolution is the latest development in CFP Board’s review of the CE requirements for CFP® certification. Last year, CFP Board staff and our Council on Education completed a comprehensive review of our CE requirements and developed several recommended revisions, which were released for public comment in August 2012. That public comment period generated a high level of response from CFP® professionals and our other stakeholders, and we appreciate the thoughtful and constructive feedback provided by FPA, its membership and CFP Board’s stakeholders during CFP Board’s intensive review of our CE requirements.

CE plays an important role in the CFP® certification requirements, as the continuing competency of CFP® professionals is an essential element to protecting the public and earning its trust, and quality CE is the most effective means to ensure ongoing competency. We look forward to working with FPA and your FPA chapter to achieve our goal of increasing the quality of CE by putting in place standards and review processes consistent with those which have proven effective in the established professions.

Sincerely,

Kevin R. Keller, CAE
CEO

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October 24, 2013

2014 CE Sponsor Registration & Program Renewal Information

The CFP Board Continuing Education Sponsor Staff is pleased to announce that the 2014 CE Sponsor renewal and 2014 program renewals are now available through CFP Board’s secure online system.

In order to offer CFP Board-accepted continuing education programs in 2014, your organization must renew its registration as a 2014 CE Sponsor.

By renewing with CFP Board as a 2014 CE Sponsor using CFP Board’s online system, the CE Sponsor agrees to all terms and conditions outlined in the Terms and Conditions of CE Sponsor Registration.

At this time, we ask that you consider which programs you may wish to renew. If you would like to see a list of your programs that are currently considered ‘active’ in CFP Board’s database, follow these steps:

  1. Go to www.CFP.net/FindCE.
  2. In the section titled “Search by Sponsor Name,” enter your organization’s name.
  3. Click “Search” to generate a list of everything your organization currently has listed as an active program.

To renew as a 2014 CE Sponsor and to renew programs, please login to your organization’s secure online account at www.CFP.net/sponsor. Once logged into the account:

  • Select the “Account Management” tab.
  • Click the link for “Billing Information.” The billing information page will list the invoice for CE Sponsor Renewal and an invoice for each program available for 2014 renewal.
  • Select the CE Sponsor Renewal invoice and any invoices that correlate with programs that you wish to renew for 2014.
  • Follow the prompts for secure online payment using a credit card.

If you need assistance with online registration and program renewals or prefer to pay the 2014 CE Sponsor registration fee and any program renewal fees by check, please contact the CE Sponsor staff at cesponsor@cfpboard.org.

Thank you for your support of continuing education for CFP® professionals. We look forward to working with you in 2014.

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December 4, 2012

Update on Recent Proposals to Amend CE Requirements, Disciplinary Rules, Appeal Rules

At its November meeting, CFP Board’s Board of Directors (Board) reviewed three proposals that were released for public comment earlier in 2012. The Board’s decisions regarding each proposal are outlined below.

The Board’s decision on each proposal followed the careful review of comments received from our stakeholders. CFP Board appreciates the thoughtful and constructive feedback many in our CFP® professional community provided on the proposed changes.

No Changes to CE Requirements

The Board determined to make no changes to the CE requirements for CFP® certification at this time. The Board passed a resolution calling on the Council on Education (Council) and staff at CFP Board to “study and develop recommendations on the appropriate level of CE to maintain CFP® professionals’ competency for the benefit of the public.” 

CFP Board staff and the Council are now in the process of conducting further research into current practices in CE and addressing comments received by stakeholders.  Additional public comments will be sought when proposed changes are developed.

Amendments to Disciplinary Rules Adopted, Effective January 1, 2013

The Board adopted amendments to CFP Board’s Disciplinary 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. 

Read the full text of CFP Board's Disciplinary Rules and Procedures (PDF, 109KB)
Read comments received by CFP Board (PDF, 61KB)

Amendments to Appeal Rules Adopted, Effective January 1, 2013

The Board adopted amendments to CFP Board’s Appeal Rules with an effective date of January 1, 2013. The amendments 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. 

Read the full text of CFP Board's Appeal Rules and Procedures (PDF, 73KB
Read comments received by CFP Board (PDF, 56KB)

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October 17, 2012

2013 CE Sponsor Registration & Program Renewal Information

We are pleased to announce that 2013 CE Sponsor registration and 2013 program renewals will be available on Thursday, October 18, 2012 through CFP Board’s secure online system.

In order to offer CFP Board-accepted continuing education programs in 2013, your organization must be an active, registered 2013 CE Sponsor.

By registering with CFP Board as a 2013 CE Sponsor using CFP Board’s online system, the CE Sponsor agrees to all terms and conditions outlined in the CE Sponsor Registration Agreement. (Please note there is no need to resubmit the CE Sponsor Agreement; we offer the link for your reference.)

At this time, we ask that you consider which programs you may wish to renew. If you would like to see a list of your programs that are currently considered ‘active’ in CFP Board’s database, follow these steps:

  1. Go to www.CFP.net/certificants/sponsors.asp
  2. In the section titled “Option 2 – Search by Name,” enter your organization’s name.
  3. Click “Submit” and then click on the link titled “View programs registered with CFP Board” to generate a full list of your organization’s active CE programs.

To register as a 2013 CE Sponsor and to renew programs, please login to your organization’s secure online account at www.CFP.net/sponsor. Once logged into the account:

  • Select the “Account Management” tab.
  • Click the link for “billing information.” The billing information page will list the invoice for CE Sponsor Renewal and an invoice for each program available for 2013 renewal.
  • Select the CE Sponsor Renewal invoice and any invoices that correlate with programs that you wish to renew for 2013.
  • Follow the prompts for secure online payment using a credit card.

If you need assistance with online registration and program renewals or prefer to pay the 2013 CE Sponsor registration fee and any program renewal fees by check, please contact the CE Sponsor staff at cesponsor@cfpboard.org.

Thank you for your support of continuing education for CFP® professionals. We look forward to working with you in 2013.

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October 21, 2011

CFP Board CE Sponsor Program: 2012 Preparation and Updates

CFP Board recently held a webinar to share the following updates on 2012 CE Sponsor registration, program renewals, and the subject topics accepted for continuing education (CE).

2012 CE Sponsor Registration and Program Renewal

In anticipation of 2012 CE Sponsor registration and program application submission, I am pleased to share that we will use the same submission process as in 2011, and CFP Board plans to open online registration for 2012 CE Sponsor registration in mid-November 2011. As with 2011 CE Sponsor registration, CE Sponsors will be able to confirm their 2012 CE Sponsor registration online using their secure CFP Board account.

CE Sponsors will also be able to renew eligible CE programs for 2012 using their secure, online CFP Board account. As with 2011 program renewals, CE Sponsors will be able to select which CE programs they wish to renew for next year.

An e-mail will be sent to CE Sponsors to announce the specific date on which 2012 online registration and program renewal opens.

2012 Subject Topics Accepted for CE Credit

CFP Board's 2009 comprehensive job task analysis identified new Job Task Domains and Principal Topics. The Job Task Domains serve as the blueprint for the March 2012 and later administrations of the CFP® Certification Examination. The Principal Topics serve as a curricular framework for CFP Board-Registered Programs.

Effective January 1, 2012, CFP Board will accept for CE credit only programs that address subject topics identified in either the lists of Job Task Domains or Principal Topics.

The Job Task Domains and Principal Topics are very similar to the list of subject topics currently accepted for CE credit. Topics related to investments, general principals of financial planning, estate planning, retirement planning and other current topics are all represented in the lists of Job Task Domains and Principal Topics. Topics currently in the "Addendum" of topics accepted for CE credit – including topics related to communications, values, and the like – are also included in the lists of Job Task Domains and Principal Topics.

For 2012, all processes will remain the same for online program application submission, application reviews, confirmation of application acceptance or denial. Due to the similarities of the lists of Job Task Domains or Principal Topics to the current list of subject topics accepted for CE credit, we expect minimal change for CE Sponsors in having program applications submitted to, and reviewed by, CFP Board.

Webinar Recording

CFP Board first shared the updates outlined above during a webinar on October 4, 2011. A recording of the Webinar is now available and can be viewed on CFP Board's YouTube channel. The presentation slides are also available for review.

Thank you for your continued participation in CFP Board's CE Sponsor program. Please let me know if you have any questions.

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October 3, 2011

CFP Board Ethics CE Sponsor Program: Is Your Instructor Qualified?

As we shared with you last March, CFP Board has implemented new program content and instructor eligibility requirements for CFP Board Ethics CE programs that are effective as of October 1, 2011. If you plan to host a CFP Board Ethics CE program, please confirm that the instructor(s) of your program meet the new instructor qualifications.

The instructor of a CFP Board 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.
  • Must not be the subject of a pending investigation by CFP Board or any federal or state regulator.
  • Must 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.

CFP Board Ethics CE programs conducted by instructors who do not meet these requirements will not be accepted for CFP Board Ethics CE credit.

Individuals who do not meet the instructor eligibility requirements may submit a Policy Exception Request to CFP Board and, if the request is approved, may begin teaching CFP Board Ethics CE programs following notification of that approval. Please note that policy exceptions may be granted in only the rarest of circumstances. CFP Board will not retroactively grant CE credit for a program taught by an instructor who does not meet the eligibility requirements during the time a Policy Exception Request is being reviewed, even if the request is later approved.

For CE Sponsors hosting CFP Board Ethics CE programs in the coming weeks, we strongly urge you to connect with the instructor to confirm their qualifications and verify their eligibility to present these programs. To conduct a quick check of an instructor's certification status and any public disciplinary history issued by CFP Board, you may also use CFP Board's verification search.

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June 30, 2011

CFP Board Launches Pilot Volunteer CE Program Review Initiative

CFP Board is launching a pilot program which encourages CFP® professionals to share feedback with CFP Board regarding the continuing education (CE) programs they complete. This new initiative supports CFP Board's work to ensure the availability of quality continuing education programs for CFP® professionals, and we expect it will provide valuable feedback for CE Sponsors serving the CFP® professional community.

CFP® professionals who volunteer to participate in the pilot program review initiative will be asked to provide comments based on their experience with a CFP Board-accepted CE program. Volunteers will receive advance training to ensure they have an accurate understanding of CFP Board's CE requirements and are prepared to provide objective reviews. Feedback will be submitted using a brief, structured form that will help identify how closely aspects of the CE program are aligned with CFP Board's CE requirements.

CE Sponsors will not be pre-identified for a program review. Any program accepted by CFP Board will be eligible for review by a CFP® professional volunteer, and program reviews will be conducted at the discretion of the volunteers.

CFP Board will share the results of the feedback with each CE Sponsor whose programs are reviewed. We expect this program review initiative will allow the opportunity to share positive feedback with CE Sponsors which are found to be conducting programs in accordance with CFP Board's CE requirements. CFP Board will also reach out to CE Sponsors which may need assistance in complying with the CFP Board's CE requirements.

The pilot program will run for six months. Once completed, CFP Board will consider ongoing implementation of this volunteer review effort.

There is no action required of CE Sponsors. We're pleased to share the news of this pilot effort with you. And we look forward to sharing positive feedback with you.

Reminder: CFP Board Ethics CE Sponsor Changes Go Into Effect October 1, 2011

Updated requirements for CFP Board Ethics CE programs take effect on October 1, 2011. All CFP® professionals are required to complete a CFP Board-accepted Ethics CE program every two years as part of their certification renewal. The changes include new learning objectives requirements and instructor eligibility requirements. The CFP Board Ethics CE program changes apply only to CE Sponsors which plan to offer CFP Board-accepted Ethics CE.

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May 24, 2011

Webinar: CFP Board Ethics CE Policy Updates

This recorded webinar reviews the learning objectives and instructor eligibility requirements for Ethics CE programs in more detail. View the recording

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March 31, 2011

CFP Board Updating Ethics CE Sponsor Requirements

CFP Board’s CE Sponsor program will implement updated requirements for Ethics continuing education (CE) programs, effective October 1, 2011. All CFP® professionals are required to complete a CFP Board-accepted Ethics CE program every two years as part of their certification renewal. 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 instructor eligibility requirements, as described below.

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:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of, and be able to define financial planning, the financial planning process, and financial planning subject areas.
  2. Describe the material elements of financial planning.
  3. Determine if a CFP® professional is providing financial planning or material elements of financial planning.
  4. Demonstrate an understanding of the required elements of a written agreement when financial planning services are provided.
  5. Articulate disclosure requirements and apply disclosure requirements to their practices.
  6. 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.

Instructor Requirements for CFP Board Ethics CE Programs
Effective October 1, 2011, instructors of Ethics CE programs registered with CFP Board must meet the following requirements.

The instructor of an Ethics CE program must:

  1. 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.
  2. Have held CFP® certification for 5 years or more.
  3. Must not be the subject of a pending investigation by CFP Board or any federal or state regulator.
  4. Must 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. The Policy Exception Request is subject to review by CFP Board staff.

All other Ethics CE program requirements remain unchanged, as outlined in the Ethics CE Sponsor Registration 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 and Ethics Commission in their first hand experience conducting disciplinary hearings, and feedback received from CFP® professionals.

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April 19, 2010

TOP TWENTY CE SPONSOR TIPS AND REMINDERS

With the recent implementation of changes to CFP Board’s CE Sponsor program, the CE Sponsor team would like to assist you in your transition to the new structure and processes. Based on our contacts with CE Sponsors in the past few months, we’ve developed a list of tips and reminders we hope will help you as you develop program applications, prepare attendance reports, and more.

  1. The annual CE Sponsor registration fee does not cover any program application fees.
  2. All program application submissions incur a program application fee.
    • Application fees are not only for program applications accepted by CFP Board.
  3. All program applications take up to 7 business days for review.
  4. CFP Board cannot accept a program application if the CE Sponsor has not registered with CFP Board as a 2010 CE Sponsor.
    • Sponsors may check their organization’s registration status in their secure, online CFP Board account. (Or, contact the CE Sponsor staff to confirm your organization’s 2010 CE Sponsor registration status.)
  5. Be sure to notify the CE Sponsor team if your organization is a nonprofit to take advantage of the nonprofit fee structure.
    • Organizations with tax exempt status granted by the government are categorized as nonprofits by CFP Board.
    • Documentation of nonprofit status is required in order to receive nonprofit fee rates.
  6. The CE Sponsor team cannot review program information without the submission of a program application.
  7. Each program requires a unique program identification number (of your choice).
  8. All conference sessions require a separate online program application.
    • Each conference session will be reviewed individually.
  9. There is a $25 fee for the manual processing of any applications not submitted through the online form.
    • The $25 fee applies to any program applications received via mail, fax, and/or as a PDF attachment to an e-mail.
  10. A program application submitted after a program has been held will incur a $75 late fee.
  11. Program applications are reviewed in the order in which they are received.
    • There is no mechanism currently in place to allow for a CE Sponsor’s program application to move to the front of the queue.
  12. Submit attendance reports only for ‘active’ programs.
    • The CE Sponsor team cannot process attendance reports for ‘inactive’ programs and/or for programs which have not yet been accepted by CFP Board.
  13. Attendance reports (“batches”) are processed based on the information provided by the Sponsor.
    • To ensure timely and accurate processing of your student’s record, please be sure all information in the batch report is accurate.
  14. All programs must be a minimum of 50-minutes in order to earn 1 hour of CFP Board continuing education credit.
  15. Be sure that program content meets CFP Board’s topic requirements for continuing education to ensure acceptance of your program application.

     

    • CE programs may address topics on CFP Board’s list of Job Task Domains or the list of Principal Topics.
  16. Programs with content focused on practice management information do not qualify for continuing education credit.
    • CFP Board defines practice management as programs focused on the planning, development and management of a CFP® professional's business operations, including topics such as office management, business model design, budgeting processes, leadership training, and other activities that don't directly contribute to the knowledge, skills and abilities needed for a CFP® professional to provide competent and ethical financial planning to clients.
  17. Marketing is a topic excluded by CFP Board for continuing education credit.
  18. Software/technology, company-specific, and product-specific discussions are topics excluded by CFP Board for continuing education credit.
  19. Keep the CE Sponsor team informed of any contact information changes.
    • This will ensure your company/organization’s point of contact is receiving information from the CE Sponsor team.
  20. The best way to reach the CE Sponsor team via email is at cesponsor@cfpboard.org.

For more detailed information regarding the CE Sponsor program, please visit the CE Sponsor section of CFP Board’s website. And, please feel free to contact the CE Sponsor staff if we can be of assistance.

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CFP Board Urges Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to Create Rating System for Certifications and Desginations

Aug 21, 2012

New Survey of CFP® Professionals Shows Senior Americans Are Especially Vulnerable to Financial Abuse, Few Report It

To help prevent the use of misleading, fraudulent and deceptive designations and certifications to promote financial services to older Americans, Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board) recommended in a comment letter delivered yesterday to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) that the agency create a ratings system for financial certifications and designations.

In support of this and other recommendations to address senior financial exploitations outlined in its comment letter, CFP Board included its Senior Americans Financial Exploitation Survey. The survey found that more than half of the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals who participated have worked with an older client who has been subject to unfair, deceptive or abusive practices in the delivery of financial advice or the sale of financial products.

“Older Americans have already given many years of hard work and dedication – raising families, serving in the military, building businesses – all to become one of our most financially secure generations,” said CFP Board CEO Kevin Keller. “This survey reveals the pervasive financial abuse victimizing America’s seniors. CFP Board applauds the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for its focus on this problem and urges the Bureau to take prompt action to reduce the use of misleading certifications and designations and to work with other federal and state regulators on legislative and regulatory policies to protect older Americans.”

In its letter, CFP Board noted that with more than 140 designations currently in use in the delivery of financial services, “senior investors are particularly vulnerable to confusion about professional designations and certifications.” As CFP Board highlighted, financial designations vary significantly and investors have no meaningful way of comparing their legitimacy, value or authenticity. With no federal or consistent state regulation or oversight of certifications and designations, Americans – especially seniors – are left on their own to sort through the alphabet soup of letters at the end of a financial professional’s name.

CFP Board urged the CFPB to take practical steps to reduce the misleading use of certifications and designations. Specifically, CFP Board recommended that the CFPB:

  • Establish a rating system for professional certifications and designations by identifying qualitative and quantitative standards (based on best practices for certifications) against which certifications and designations can be evaluated. The rating system would rank designations from the highest tier to those that are so deficient that their use in marketing is presumptively misleading or deceptive.

  • Communicate the rating system through an educational campaign to educate older Americans on how to use the system to evaluate the financial designations.

CFP Board suggested that CFPB could use the standards upon which the CFP® certification is based – an accredited certification program that requires substantial education and experience, a fair, valid and reliable exam that measures competencies for the standard of practice, continuing education required to maintain competencies, high professional and ethical standards, and a rigorous enforcement process that includes revocation of the certification, evidence that revocation is implemented, and public notice of disciplinary actions – as the model for the types of criteria that should be used to evaluate financial service designations.

CFP Board also urged the CFPB to support legislative and regulatory reforms to protect older Americans, including to:

  • Encourage policies that support the delivery of financial advice to older Americans under a fiduciary standard of care;

  • Encourage reforms – on a state or federal level – that would require those who work with seniors to meet baseline competency and ethical standards; and

  • Address the use of misleading titles, e.g., financial professionals who hold themselves out as financial planners without meeting competency or ethical requirements, by encouraging the implementation of the Government Accountability Office recommendations to gather additional data on this consumer protection issue that affects older Americans.

“As the Bureau takes much-needed steps toward addressing deceptive and fraudulent financial practices targeting American seniors, CFP Board and its nearly 67,000 CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals hope to serve as valuable partners in the identification and prevention of such abuse,” said Keller. “We look forward to working with the CFPB and like-minded organizations to raise awareness of these risks and ensure Americans of all ages receive financial advice from an advisor they can trust.”

Survey Highlights

The statistically significant survey was conducted by APCO Insight and includes responses from more than 2,600 CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals regarding their work with older clients who have been targeted for financial fraud and abuse at the hands of a financial advisor. In addition, in-depth interviews were conducted with select CFP® professionals to further explore older clients’ experiences with questionable financial practices.

  • More than half of CFP® professionals (56%) personally have worked with an older client who has been subject to unfair, deceptive or abusive practices in the delivery of financial advice or the sale of financial products. Another 32% personally knows of an older non-client who has been subject to such practices.

  • Although the vast majority of CFP® professionals always or often encouraged older victims of financial abuse to report abuse to the authorities, the median estimate of the CFP® professionals was that only 5% of those victims actually did report abuse.

  • CFP® professionals were aware of a variety of abusive practices in the delivery of financial advice or the sale of financial products:

    • Nearly three-quarters (73%) were aware of older investors who have been invited to “free meal” seminars that are actually sales pitches;

    • 58% were aware of older investors who have received unsolicited pitches for financial products or services;

    • Half (50%) were aware of older investors who have been offered high-yielding investments described as no-risk or low-risk;

    • More than a third (34%) were aware of older investors who have been pitched for prize-winning scams; and

    • 20% were aware of older investors who have been subject to power of attorney or guardian abuse, among many other types of misleading or fraudulent practices.

  • The majority of those surveyed found older Americans are subject to a variety of practices that could violate federal and state laws and regulations:

    • Nearly three-quarters (74%) of CFP® professionals were aware of older investors who have been offered unsuitable financial products;

    • 58% were aware of older investors who have been subject to omission of material facts about financial products;

    • Nearly half (48%) were aware of older investors who have been subject to misrepresentations about financial products; and

    • 46% were aware of older investors who have been subject to negligence or lack of follow-up in connection with financial products.

  • The financial products involved in unfair, deceptive or abusive practice witnessed by CFP® professionals most often involved equity indexed or variable annuities (76%), variable life insurance (32%), mutual funds (29%), and universal or whole life insurance (28%).

About the Survey Methodology
CFP Board developed the survey of U.S.-based CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals with APCO Insight, which administered the online survey from July 24 through August 7, 2012 and 2,649 CFP® professionals participated. The statistically significant survey has a margin of error of 1.9% with a confidence level of 95%. In addition to the quantitative portion of the study, APCO Insight conducted in-depth interviews with CFP® professionals about their experiences with older Americans who have been subject to deceptive, fraudulent or misleading financial practices. A synopsis of these interviews is included in the report.



About CFP Board: The mission of Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. is to benefit the public by granting the CFP® certification and upholding it as the recognized standard of excellence for competent and ethical personal financial planning. The Board of Directors, in furthering CFP Board's mission, acts on behalf of the public, CFP® certificants and other stakeholders. CFP Board owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, CFP® (with plaque design) and CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements. CFP Board currently authorizes more than 66,000 individuals to use these marks in the United States.

Important Updates

Council On Education
CFP Board’s Council on Education advises CFP Board on the development and clarification of all educational policies related to the CFP® certification process.