New Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct

For CFP® Professionals

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New Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct

CFP-Board-Code-and-Standards

CFP Board's new Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct (“Code and Standards”), which sets forth the ethical standards for CFP® professionals, replaces CFP Board’s current Code of Ethics, Rules of Conduct, Financial Planning Practice Standards and Terminology, effective October 1, 2019.

The new Code and Standards includes a range of important changes, including expanding the application of the fiduciary standard that requires CFP® professionals to act in the best interest of the client at all times when providing financial advice. Through the new Code and Standards, CFP Board is advancing the role and value of the financial planning profession with a broader fiduciary standard that elevates public trust in CFP® professionals.


Documents and Guidance Resources


The following documents reflect technical revisions to the Code and Standards that were announced on November 26, 2018.  The technical revisions do not materially change the Code and Standards; instead, they provide clarity to several sections of the document.

New Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct (PDF)

Redline Showing Technical Revisions to New Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct (PDF)

Side-by-Side Comparison of the New Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct to the Current Standards of Professional Conduct (PDF)

Commentary on New Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct (PDF)

Frequently Asked Questions about the New Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct (PDF)

Brochure: Highlights of CFP Board's New Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct (PDF)


Video Series

CFP Board is releasing a new video each month in a 12-part series outlining key details of the new Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct.

New Code and Standards - Summary Video: CFP Board's CEO Kevin Keller and General Counsel Leo Rydzewski discuss details and insights about the new Code and Standards.


>> VIEW ADDITIONAL VIDEOS IN THE SERIES


Answers to Frequently Asked Questions


CFP-Board-Code-and-Standards-FAQ_Page_01In June 2018, CFP Board formed a Standards Resource Commission to provide guidance to CFP® professionals and their firms on the new Code and Standards. The blue-ribbon group is composed of individuals from financial services firms and members of the public. In response to questions received from stakeholders, including during public forums held in several cities in September 2018, the Standards Resource Commission has assembled responses to Frequently Asked Questions concerning the Code and Standards. Some of the key responses to FAQs address the following:

  • The structure of the Code and Standards;
  • The requirements of CFP Board’s new fiduciary duty;
  • The definitions of Financial Planning, Financial Advice, and other terms;
  • The changes to the Financial Planning process;
  • Why there are now seven steps in the Financial Planning process;
  • The circumstances in which a CFP® professional is required to comply with the practice standards for the Financial Planning process, including the factors that will determine when a CFP® professional is required to provide Financial Planning when providing Financial Advice to a Client;
  • The requirement to provide full disclosure of all Material Conflicts of Interest;
  • The duty not to make false or misleading representations of compensation method, including when a CFP® professional may use the term "fee-only" and what a CFP® professional must do when using the term "fee-based"; and
  • How CFP Board will handle bankruptcies under the new Code and Standards.

Read the new Frequently Asked Questions Document


Public Forums


CFP Board is hosting a series of public forums around the country, focused on educating CFP® professionals, firms, and the public on the new Code of Ethics and Standards of ConductRegister now for the Webinar Public Forum on December 13, 2018 at 3:00 p.m. (Eastern) and save the dates for our 2019 series of Public Forums.

Learn more


Enforcement


CFP Board’s ethical standards for CFP® professionals are actively enforced through an investigative and disciplinary process described in the Disciplinary Rules and Procedures and Appeal Rules and Procedures. CFP Board is committed to maintaining a disciplinary process that is fair to the CFP® professionals whose conduct comes under scrutiny and one that is credible to the public.

Learn about CFP Board’s Enforcement Processes

Request for Comments on Proposed Procedural Rules: CFP Board is accepting comments on proposed Procedural Rules during a public comment period that ends Tuesday, January 29, 2019.  The proposed Procedural Rules will consolidate and replace the existing Disciplinary Rules and Procedures and Appeal Rules and ProceduresLearn more >

Background


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, Financial Planning Practice Standards and Terminology, effective October 1, 2019. 

The new Code and Standards reflects the conclusion of CFP Board’s latest review of these standards to maintain the value, integrity and relevance of the CFP® certification. This deliberative and thorough process 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. 

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.

In June 2018, CFP Board announced the formation of a Standards Resource Commission to help develop resources that will provide guidance to CFP® professionals and their firms on the new Code and Standards. Comprised of individuals from financial services firms and members of the public, the commission will help with the development of materials such as fact sheets, FAQs, videos, webinars and other documents. From September 2018 through December 2019, members of the commission are participating in a series of public forums around the country, focused on educating CFP® professionals, firms, and the public on the new Code and Standards.

The new Code and Standards is integrated into the curriculum for all pre-approved CFP Board Ethics Continuing Education programs (a requirement for CFP® certification renewal), beginning October 1, 2018 – a full year prior to the effective date of the new Code and Standards.


Questions


For questions or additional information about the Code and Standards, please contact us at standards@cfpboard.org.

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