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CFP Board

April 3, 2013

In This Issue:

CFP Board’s Financial Planning Competency Handbook Now Available

CFP Board's first book, the Financial Planning Competency Handbook, is now available from booksellers nationwide. Published by highly respected academic publisher John Wiley & Sons, Inc., the Handbook is designed for the entire financial planning profession — including students, professors and practitioners — and provides a theoretical framework for many of the major content areas in financial planning as well as real-world guidance for practicing professionals.

“The Financial Planning Competency Handbook is a seminal work for the financial planning profession, and it serves as a comprehensive handbook for CFP® professionals who are already practicing, students, those who are candidates for CFP® certification, faculty and those interested in the profession,” said CFP Board CEO Kevin R. Keller, CAE. “CFP Board is actively working to build upon an academic foundation for financial planning as a profession, with this book adding to the body of knowledge.”

The 85-chapter, 735-page book was edited by CFP Board’s Dr. Charles Chaffin, Director of Academic Programs and Initiatives. Twenty-one volunteers from academia and the profession contributed to the book. Each chapter is dedicated to one of CFP Board’s 78 topic areas, bringing together theory and practice through an overview of what a CFP® professional should know in theory as well as how it works in the real world through vignettes.

 CFP Board's Financial Planning Competency Handbook


Order your copy of the Financial Planning Competency Handbook through your online CFP Board account or your favorite bookseller.

The Handbook can also be ordered from your favorite bookseller and is available in electronic format for iBooks and Kindle (Nook version available April 9).

More Recently-Released Resources from CFP Board:

CFP® Certification Examination Update

The most recent administration of the CFP® Exam was held March 15-16, 2013 at testing sites across the nation. CFP Board is pleased to share that successful efforts to reduce the time required to complete the scoring process will allow us to release results for the March 2013 and future exams approximately 5 weeks following the exam date.

View the latest update on the scoring process for the March 2013 CFP® Exam >

The next CFP® Exam will be held July 19-20, 2013. Encourage your qualified colleagues to register online for the July 2013 exam by the registration deadline, June 4, 2013, at www.CFP.net/exam.

Did You Know? Individuals who hold specific academic degrees and professional credentials can register for the CFP® exam after completing a single financial plan development (capstone) course offered by a CFP Board-Registered Program. The specific degrees, licenses or credentials that qualify for this “Challenge” status are:

  • Ph.D. in business or economics
  • Doctor of Business Administration
  • Licensed attorney
  • Licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
  • Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC)
  • Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU)
  • Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®)
  • CFP certification from the Financial Planning Standards Board Ltd. (FPSB) Affiliate located in the individual’s territory of residence outside the U.S.

CFP® Exam registrations under “Challenge” status must be accompanied with documentation verifying the individual’s qualification and completion of the capstone course.

Learn more about “Challenge” status >

Learn more about the capstone course >

Public Awareness Campaign Update

Public awareness is one of the Board’s highest priorities, given its importance for the future of the CFP® certification and financial planning profession, and CFP Board’s first large-scale advertising campaign continues to enhance awareness of CFP® professionals.


 CFP (with plaque design) mark

The public awareness campaign includes print and online advertisements, sponsorship messages on NPR, as well as a TV ad that has been broadcast on national television cable networks. All of the advertisements direct people to our consumer website – letsmakeaplan.org – where they can learn more about the CFP® certification and look up a CFP® professional in their area.

Last year, CFP Board conducted a brand tracking study that confirmed the campaign is having impact and positively moving awareness of and preference for CFP® professionals. The study found statistically significant percentage point increases in consumer awareness amongst the campaign target as well as increases in the preference for CFP® professionals and increases in recognition of the CFP® marks, as compared to baseline numbers established at the start of the campaign. Nancy Kistner, CFP®, 2013 Chair of CFP Board's Board of Directors, shared details on the study's findings during CFP Board's July 2012 Business Update Webinar.

In 2012, the campaign introduced advertorial-type messages alongside some of the print ads. These worked to tie in the topic of the magazine to the benefits of working with a CFP® professional. In 2013, the campaign will continue to benefit from this type of print added value, and supplement it with similar opportunities to enhance our television advertising. Learn more about these and other campaign updates by viewing the recording of CFP Board’s March 2013 Business Update Webinar.

CFP® professionals have access to many materials that can be used to help extend the reach of the campaign in their communities. Visit the Public Awareness Campaign Toolkit for customizable ad templates, CFP® marks artwork, and information on the 2013 media schedule.

Financial Planning Coalition Survey: American Investors Want More Protection

CFP Board and our partners in the Financial Planning Coalition — the Financial Planning Association and the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors — recently released the results of a new nationwide survey of consumers that shows, by an overwhelming margin, Americans want the federal government to play an active role in protecting investors, including extending a fiduciary standard to broker-dealers who provide personalized investment advice to retail clients. Consumers also want the federal government to protect investors by increasing oversight of investment advisers.

The survey showed:

  • 93 percent of respondents agree with the statement that financial advisers providing advice “should put your interests ahead of theirs and should have to tell you upfront about any conflicts of interest that potentially could influence that advice.”
  • 84 percent of American investors agree that “financial advisers should be regulated by the federal government to protect investors and build confidence in financial services.”
  • 80 percent of American investors do not believe the federal government is doing enough to protect “consumers from being taken advantage of” by financial advisers.

Read the full survey report > (PDF, 107KB)

The survey was released as the Senate Banking Committee considered the nomination of Mary Jo White as the next Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), whose nomination was confirmed by the Banking Committee and referred to the Senate for final confirmation. The Coalition believes that this nationwide survey demonstrates the public’s continued desire for the SEC to fulfill its mission to protect investors.

“These results should serve as another wake-up call for the SEC, Congress and the Administration to protect American investors who continue to be vulnerable to fraud and abuse while key Dodd-Frank investor-protection reforms are mired in rulemakings or need follow-up congressional action,” said the Coalition in a statement that restated its support for White’s nomination. “American investors remain at risk, as policymakers continue to debate the merits and implementation of these important investor protection provisions in the Dodd-Frank Act,” the Coalition concluded. “We strongly urge the new Chairman of the SEC to champion extending the fiduciary standard and support the user fee option as a way to fund increased oversight of investment advisers.”

The survey showed that American investors indicated strong support of one of the Coalition’s highest priorities: extending the fiduciary standard of conduct to broker-dealers who provide investment advice to retail clients. “The adoption of the fiduciary standard for broker-dealers will help to restore and strengthen public trust in financial advisers — both investment advisers and broker-dealers — offering long-term benefits to consumers and to our economy,” said the Coalition, which plans to submit a response to the SEC’s recent request for information about costs and benefits related to the fiduciary standard rulemaking process. (PDF, 303KB)

The Coalition also strongly advocates for a properly funded SEC to enhance its oversight of investment advisers and to ensure that examinations are conducted at least once every four years, as opposed to the current frequency of once every 11 years. The current level of examinations, which is due to a resource gap at the SEC, is bad for investors and for advisers.

To pay for increased examinations, the Coalition is advocating for Congress to authorize the SEC to collect user fees from SEC-regulated investment advisers. This targeted, efficient and effective solution will provide the SEC with the additional resources it needs to do its job. It comes at no additional cost to taxpayers and is roundly supported by consumer and industry groups, with investment advisers also saying they are willing to pay for the increased oversight. A Boston Consulting Group study commissioned by the Coalition and others in 2011 found user fees to be significantly less costly than a self-regulatory organization (SRO) operated by FINRA and the preferred solution by more than 80 percent of investment advisers.

Learn more about these initiatives and other public policy issues CFP Board is engaged with in the Public Policy section of CFP Board’s website.

CFP Board in the News

CFP Board and the CFP® certification have been featured prominently by national media in recent weeks.

  • CFP Board’s new publication, Financial Self-Defense for Seniors, was featured in the New York Times and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
  • The New York Times shared insights from CFP Board’s Consumer Advocate, Eleanor Blayney, CFP® and CFP Board Ambassador Connie Stone, CFP® in a story focused on the increasing problem of debt among older Americans
  • The Wall Street Journal and FundFire published articles highlighting CFP Board’s work to encourage large financial service firms to increase the number of CFP® professionals among their ranks
  • CEO Update magazine featured the work of CFP Board’s Consumer Advocate
  • Financial Planning magazine introduced CFP Board’s new Director of Marketing and new Government Relations Counsel

Read these and other notable media references to CFP Board and the CFP® certification >

Upcoming CFP Board Events


  • CFP Board Seeks Candidates for 2014 Board of Directors: CFP Board is currently accepting applications for individuals interested in serving on the Board of Directors beginning in January 2014. Board Directors have a significant opportunity and responsibility to participate in guiding the policy direction of the organization, working with the Board Chair, the CEO and other Directors to provide strategic leadership for CFP Board. Those interested in serving on CFP Board’s Board of Directors should review the Board Director Position Description and Candidate Specifications document and submit a completed Board Director Volunteer Application Form no later than June 14, 2013.
  • Community Leadership Awards: Nominate a colleague for the 2013 Community Leadership Awards, established by the Invest in Others Charitable Foundation to recognize and celebrate financial advisers across the country for their exemplary leadership and contribution to various philanthropic efforts. Nominations are being accepted through April 26, 2013. Learn more >


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Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, CFP® (with plaque design) and CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete initial and ongoing certification requirements.