Proposed Standards

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Proposed Standards

Proposed Revisions to CFP Board’s Standards of Professional Conduct

NEW: Second Public Comment Period to Begin January 2, 2018

On November 15, 2017, CFP Board announced that it will issue for public comment a second draft of proposed revisions to its Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct, which set forth the ethical standards for CFP® professionals. A revised version of the proposed Code and Standards will be released before the end of 2017, along with an annotated version and side-by-side comparison document. The second comment period will last 30 days, beginning on Tuesday, January 2, 2018 and ending on Friday, February 2, 2018.

This page will be updated when the revised version of the proposed Code and Standards is released.

2017 Proposed Revised Standards and Initial Comment Period

On June 20, 2017, CFP Board requested comments on proposed revisions to its Standards of Professional Conduct, which set forth the ethical standards for CFP® professionals.  CFP Board’s standards for ethics and practice are an essential part of the CFP® certification and an important element of the public’s trust and confidence in CFP® professionals.  Through a deliberate and inclusive process, CFP Board has developed a draft of proposed revisions to the Standards that is intended to enhance the integrity and value of CFP® professionals to the clients and communities they serve.

The draft proposal, titled Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct, is a significant revision to the Standards with a range of important changes, including broadening the application of the fiduciary standard for CFP® professionals – effectively requiring CFP® professionals to put a client’s interest first at all times – and enhancing and updating standards related to financial planning. 

Read the Comments Submitted to CFP Board (PDF)

Review Feedback Received through an Online Survey (PDF)

CFP Board’s Board of Directors will consider the feedback received during the comment period, which ended August 21, 2017.  The final revised Standards will be announced at a later date along with an effective date for implementation.


Recorded Webinar: Proposed Revisions to CFP Board's Standards of Professional Conduct


In this recorded  webinar, CFP Board’s General Counsel, Leo Rydzewski, reviews proposed revisions to CFP Board’s Standards of Professional Conduct that were released for a 60-day public comment period that ends August 21, 2017.  During the comment period, CFP Board held a series of public forums in cities across the country to discuss the proposed revised Standards. This webinar was intended to provide those who weren't able to join us at the public forums an opportunity to learn more about the proposed revisions, ask questions and share feedback on the proposed Standards


Public Forums

CFP Board invited the public, CFP® professionals and other interested parties to participate in public forums to review and discuss the proposed revised Standards during events held between July 24 and July 27 in the eight cities listed below. 

July 24

8:00 - 10:00 a.m.

Tampa

Renaissance Tampa International Plaza

July 24

4:30 - 6:30 p.m.

Atlanta

Westin Buckhead

July 25

8:00 - 10:00 a.m.

New York

Westin New York Grand Central

July 25

4:30 - 6:30 p.m.

Detroit

Sheraton Detroit Novi 

July 26

8:00 - 10:00 a.m.

St. Louis

Sheraton Clayton Plaza Hotel

July 26

5:00 -7:00 p.m.

Dallas

The Westin Galleria

July 27

8:00 - 10:00 a.m.

Phoenix

Hyatt Regency Scottsdale at Gainey Ranch

July 27

5:00 -7:00 p.m.

San Diego

Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina

 


Background

In order for individuals to receive CFP® certification from CFP Board, they must agree to the high standards for competency and ethics that are set forth in the Standards.  CFP Board periodically reviews the Standards to maintain the value, integrity and relevance of the CFP® certification.  The current version of the Standards has been effective since January 2009.

CFP Board announced the formation of a Commission on Standards in December 2015 for the purpose of reviewing and recommending to the Board of Directors proposed changes to the Terminology, Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility, Rules of Conduct, and Financial Planning Practice Standards sections of the Standards. After receiving feedback during a series of public forums and holding discussions with interested organizations and individuals, the Commission developed recommendations that are incorporated in the proposed revised Standards, which the Board of Directors has approved for public comment. The revisions strengthen the Standards, for the benefit of the public.

Highlights of Proposed Changes

  • A broader fiduciary standard requires CFP® professionals to act in the best interest of the client at all times
    • Extends a CFP® professional’s obligation to act as a fiduciary, and therefore, in the best interest of the client, when providing financial advice to a client. Under the current Standards, CFP® professionals are required to act as a fiduciary when providing financial planning.
    • Since the definition of financial advice is broader than the definition of financial planning, the draft revised Standards expands the commitment that all CFP® professionals make to acting in their client’s best interest.
       
  • A shorter definition of financial planning and a presumption that financial planning is required
    • Presents a new definition of financial planning that is intended to be brief and comprehensive. Financial planning is defined as “a collaborative process that helps maximize a client’s potential for meeting life goals through financial advice that integrates relevant elements of the client’s personal and financial circumstances.”
    • The revised Standards sets forth a presumption that CFP® professionals are required to provide financial planning when providing financial advice, while also outlining the factors CFP Board will weigh in determining whether financial planning is required.
       
  • More specific Practice Standards for the delivery of financial planning
    • Updates the Practice Standards, presenting them efficiently, with the financial planning process beginning after the engagement has been formed and with goals selected after the CFP® professional has developed an understanding of the client’s personal and financial circumstances.
       
  • Revised process for addressing bankruptcies
    • Includes bankruptcies among the types of adverse conduct to be handled through the disciplinary process, thereby returning CFP Board to the process that was in place prior to 2012.
       
  • A consolidated, easier-to-read document for the public and CFP® professionals
    • Consolidates four sections of the current Standards in a single document. Following a brief Preamble, the Code of Ethics announces ethical principles, the Standards of Conduct sets forth specific standards governing the conduct of CFP® professionals, and a Glossary defines key terms.
    • The Standards of Conduct is organized into five discrete sections, one of which sets forth the Practice Standards for the financial planning process.

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