Code and Standards

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Code and Standards

NEW CODE OF ETHICS AND STANDARDS OF CONDUCT, EFFECTIVE OCT. 1, 2019

New Code and Standards reinforces the value of CFP® certification with a broader fiduciary standard that elevates public trust in CFP® professionals

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What is the new Code and Standards?


On March 29, 2018, CFP Board announced that its Board of Directors unanimously approved a new Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct (“Code and Standards”), which sets forth the ethical standards for CFP® professionals.

The new Code and Standards replaces CFP Board’s current Code of Ethics, Rules of Conduct and Financial Planning Practice Standards, effective October 1, 2019.

Read the new Code and Standards 

Read Commentary on the new Code and Standards 

Why did CFP Board develop the new Code and Standards?


CFP Board periodically reviews its ethical standards and certification requirements to maintain the value, integrity and relevance of the CFP® certification.

The deliberative and thorough process to develop the new Code and Standards spanned more than two years, starting with the December 2015 formation of the Commission on Standards, and including active outreach to gather input on proposed revisions from CFP® professionals and the public. CFP Board held more 17 public forums; convened two public comment periods; received more than 1,500 written comments and hundreds of oral comments; conducted a wide-ranging survey; and provided other opportunities for the public to provide feedback and input.

The new Code and Standards reflects the input of many people and organizations who provided thoughtful comments to make sure that CFP Board got it right. We are grateful to everyone who has assisted during this process, which helps ensure that CFP® certification remains the standard of excellence in personal financial planning.
 

What does the new Code and Standards mean for the public?


CFP Board’s ethical standards are an important element of the public's trust and confidence in CFP® professionals. 

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.  

The new Code and Standards adds even more rigor to the CFP® certification requirements, and enhances the integrity and value that CFP® professionals bring to the clients and communities they serve. Central to the new Code and Standards is an expansion of the fiduciary standard that requires CFP® professionals to act in the best interest of the client at all times when providing financial advice. 


What does the new Code and Standards mean for CFP® professionals?


All CFP® professionals must comply with the new Code and Standards by their effective date of October 1, 2019. The new Code and Standards expands the application of the fiduciary standard to all financial advice, and requires a CFP® professional to act in the best interests of the client at all times when providing financial advice.

The 18-month period between the announcement of the new Code and Standards and their effective date was intended to be responsive to concerns expressed by a number of CFP® professionals and the firms they work for, who requested a reasonable window of time to adjust their current operational systems in order to be accountable for the new Code and Standards.

The adoption of the new Code and Standards reflects the conclusion of CFP Board’s latest review of its standards to maintain the value, integrity and relevance of the CFP® certification.
 

Where can I learn more?


The new Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct, as well as several related documents, including a Commentary Version, a Redline Version, and a Side-by-Side Document comparing the new Code and Standards to the current Standards of Professional Conduct, are currently available for review.  

Review resources related to the new Code and Standards

During the time between the announcement date and the effective date of the new Code and Standards, CFP Board will undertake a thorough process to educate and inform CFP® professionals on the new Code and Standards. Additional resources will be added to the website as they become available.

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Did You Know?

Among clients who work with an advisor, 87% of those working with a CFP® professional are satisfied or very satisfied, compared with 72% of those who work with an advisor without certification.
Anyone can call themselves a “financial planner.” Only professionals who meet CFP Board’s rigorous standards can call themselves CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals.
The 2013 Household Financial Planning Survey shows that those with a financial plan feel more confident and report more success managing money, savings and investments than those without a plan.