CFP Board Releases Second Draft of Proposed Revisions to Ethical Standards for CFP® Certification

Certification Updates

CFP Board Releases Second Draft of Proposed Revisions to Ethical Standards for CFP® Certification

Mar 09, 2007

DENVER, March 9, 2007 - Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. (CFP Board) has released a Second Exposure Draft of proposed changes to its Standards of Professional Conduct, which set forth the ethical standards for CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals. CFP Board is soliciting comments on the Second Exposure Draft through April 25, 2007.

“CFP Board is dedicated to maintaining the strength and vitality of the ethical standards for CFP® certification,” said Karen P. Schaeffer, CFP®, Chair of CFP Board's Board of Directors. “The Board of Directors is confident the Second Exposure Draft does maintain and strengthen those standards and presents them in a manner that will be easily understood by CFP® professionals and the public they serve.”

In 2005, the Board of Directors began a review of CFP Board's ethics-related functions. CFP Board released an initial Exposure Draft of proposed revisions to its ethical standards in July 2006 and received more than 300 responses to that draft. The Board of Directors appointed an Ethics Task Force to review those comments and recommend a course of action with the proposed revisions. The Second Exposure Draft is the product of that review.

“The majority of the comments received last year addressed whether CFP Board should require CFP® professionals to adhere to a fiduciary duty of care,” said Marilyn Capelli Dimitroff, CFP®, Board of Directors member and Chair of the Ethics Task Force. “There were passionate opinions for and against including a fiduciary duty – and many who incorrectly believed that CFP Board's current ethical standards require a fiduciary duty from all CFP® professionals. It was most encouraging to find that those on both sides of the fiduciary debate were in agreement that CFP Board’s ethical standards must put the interest of the client first.”

The proposed revisions include a requirement that a CFP® professional “shall at all times place the interest of the client ahead of his or her own.” The new language would replace the standard of “reasonable and prudent professional judgment” contained in CFP Board's current Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility.

The proposed revisions also include a requirement that CFP® professionals who provide financial planning services do so with the duty of care of a “fiduciary,” a term partly defined as acting “in the best interest of the client.” That proposal significantly strengthens the current requirement that financial planning services be performed “in the interest of the client.”

“We believe the proposed revisions accomplish the goals we set for our review of CFP Board's ethics requirements,” said Schaeffer. “They ensure that the ethical standards apply to all individuals over whom CFP Board has jurisdiction, clear up repetitive and confusing language and create an enforceable duty of care for CFP® professionals.”

Comments about the Second Exposure Draft may be submitted through April 25, 2007 via e-mail to or by mail to:

CFP Board
Attn: Ethics Task Force
1670 Broadway, Suite 600
Denver, CO 80202

A brief online survey is also available for those wishing to provide feedback without preparing a formal comment. Comments and survey results will be posted on CFP Board's Web site during the comment period.

The mission of Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. is to help people benefit from competent, professional and ethical financial planning. CFP Board owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and federally registered 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 54,500 individuals to use these marks in the United States.