Terminating Engagements FAQ - CFP Board

For CFP® Professionals


Terminating Engagements


The new Code and Standards takes effect Oct. 1, 2019, and includes a range of important changes, including expanding the scope of the fiduciary standard that requires CFP® professionals to act in the best interest of the client at all times when providing financial advice.  Learn More

Look here to learn more about how to end a financial planning relationship.

CFP Board wants all CFP® professionals to have a thorough understanding of the Standards of Professional Conduct. Questions not answered in these FAQs may be sent to standards@cfpboard.org for consideration and possible inclusion in future revisions of this document.

Question 9-1: Is it possible for a client of a CFP® professional to terminate the financial planning engagement with the CFP® professional and still receive other services from the CFP® professional?

It depends on whether a CFP® professional is providing the future services and the nature of those services. In general, once a financial planning relationship with a CFP® professional has been established, all future services provided by the CFP® professional to the client are likely to be considered by CFP Board to be part of the financial planning process. It is important for CFP® professionals and clients to work together to develop a mutual understanding of the scope of the engagement. One important factor CFP Board will consider when determining whether activities are material elements of financial planning is the client’s understanding and intent in engaging the CFP® professional. For example, a client can enter into a written agreement with the CFP® professional to limit the financial planning engagement to the first four steps of the financial planning process, i.e., the engagement ends with the CFP® professional’s recommendations. Whether subsequent interactions with the client constitute financial planning will depend on whether such services fall within CFP Board’s definition of financial planning or material elements of financial planning. The facts and circumstances of each situation are factors in CFP Board’s determination of whether the CFP® professional engaged in financial planning or the material elements of financial planning.

Did This Answer Your Question?

CFP Board welcomes questions about specific aspects of the Standards of Professional Conduct and their application to specific situations.

CFP Board will consider all questions submitted and draft a response where it determines that interpretation of the Standards is needed.  For responses that it believes would be helpful to all CFP® professionals, CFP Board will publish its response in CFP Board’s newsletters and on CFP Board’s website.

Send your questions and requests for guidance documents to CFP Board at standards@cfpboard.org.

Return to Index of Frequently Asked Questions

Review other Compliance Resources from CFP Board

Center For Financial Planning | Logo | Gold

The Center's focus includes workforce development, diversity, and the profession's body of knowledge.

Learn More

Reach New Clients

CFP Board’s “Find a CFP® Professional” online search tool can help you connect with Americans seeking professional financial planning services.

Update Your Profile Today


More than 1,000 CE Sponsors have registered with CFP Board to provide continuing education.

Find CE Opportunities