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CFP Board

July 25, 2013

In This Issue:

Board of Directors Approves Continuation of Public Awareness Campaign

At its July 2013 meeting, CFP Board’s Board of Directors reviewed the results of the first two years of CFP Board’s first large- scale public awareness campaign – which confirm that the campaign is having an impact and positively moving awareness of and preference for CFP® professionals – and adopted a resolution authorizing the campaign to continue.

An April 2013 brand tracking study found statistically significant percentage point increases in consumer awareness of CFP® certification amongst the campaign target. For our Mass Affluent Initiator target, the study showed that top of mind or “first mention” awareness has increased by seven points since the start of the campaign, and total unaided awareness has increased by four points.

The 2013 brand tracking study was conducted for CFP Board by IPSOS, the research firm that conducted the 2011 baseline study and 2012 brand tracking study for the public awareness campaign. Across all of these studies we have seen consistent and significant signs of positive momentum, across multiple measures, across multiple audiences.

In its resolution, the Board of Directors emphasized that the campaign must continue to utilize sound research as the basis for marketing and media decisions, and that the campaign’s execution must continue to reflect CFP Board’s neutral stance on business models and compensation structures.

Nancy Kistner, CFP®, CFP Board's 2013 Chair, shared details on the study's findings and the Board’s decision to continue the public awareness campaign during CFP Board's July 12, 2013, Business Update Webinar.

Help Us Extend the Reach of CFP Board’s Public Awareness Campaign

CFP Board's “Let’s Make a Plan” public awareness campaign includes a toolkit of resources – including customizable advertisements, artwork for the CFP® marks and more – available to CFP® professionals who wish to extend the reach of the campaign in their local communities.

Recent additions to the toolkit include a version of our new “Chess” print ad that CFP® professionals can customize with their contact information, and three new online banner ads that can be added to websites or other online materials.

CFP Board’s online store also offers a range of products featuring the new CFP® (with plaque design) mark featured in CFP Board’s public awareness campaign, including new magnet-backed lapel pins and a new embroidered golf shirt available in four colorful options.


Board's Online Store

Study Shows Advisers, Clients Benefit from a Fiduciary Standard without Reduced Access to Services or Increase in Costs

On July 5, 2013, CFP Board and our partners in the Financial Planning Coalition – the Financial Planning Association and the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors – responded to a request for information by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) with a response stating that the Coalition would “vigorously oppose” attempts to weaken the fiduciary standard. The response was accompanied with research showing a client-first standard does not limit advice to “mass market” clients.

The SEC released a request in March 2013 for information and data about the benefits and costs of putting in place a uniform fiduciary standard for broker-dealers and investment advisers. In its response, the Coalition stated that a “fiduciary standard will benefit retail customers or their financial advisers, and will not impose significant costs.” The Coalition reiterated its view that the current assumptions made by the SEC would “significantly weaken the fiduciary standard for SEC-registered investment advisers while adding few meaningful new protections for retail customers.”

“We vigorously oppose such an approach, because it would have negative consequences for retail customers,” said the Coalition, urging the SEC to promptly propose a uniform fiduciary standard that is consistent with the existing standard required under the Investment Adviser Act of 1940.

The Coalition’s letter referenced a recent study, conducted by the Aité Group, which revealed that broker-dealers working under a client-first standard experience greater success compared to those operating under a suitability standard and without a significant increase in their costs. The research also indicates that “applying a uniform fiduciary standard on broker-dealers will have little if any effect on the availability of advice to customers.”

Those surveyed reported that broker-dealers who are already operating under the fiduciary standard “experience stronger asset growth, stronger revenue growth, and obtain a greater share of client assets than those that provide services primarily under a non-fiduciary model.”

The research also revealed:

  • A majority of brokers and advisers are already operating under a fiduciary standard.
  • Those brokers and advisers agree that the standard should apply when giving advice to retail consumers and that requiring this client-first standard has very little impact in deciding whether to serve “mass market” clients.
  • Conversion of fee-based brokerage accounts to fiduciary accounts shows that a fiduciary standard does not lead to increased costs or decreased services.

The Coalition’s July letter to the SEC supplements a June 4, 2013 letter sent to SEC Chair Mary Jo White that raised concerns about assumptions in the SEC’s request for information, urged the agency to establish a uniform fiduciary standard for broker-dealers and investment advisers that is at least as strong as the existing standard for investment advisers, and asserted vigorous opposition to any rule that would weaken investor protections. That letter was signed by CFP Board, AARP, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Consumer Federation of America, Financial Planning Association, Fund Democracy, Investment Adviser Association, National Association of Personal Financial Advisors and the North American Securities Administrators Association.

Read the Coalition’s letter and the Aité Group study >

Review a fact sheet with highlights of the Aité Group study >

Read the Coalition’s News Release >

“Let’s Talk Planning” Blog: Helping Consumers Understand Financial Professionals’ Credentials

A recent blog post by CFP Board’s Consumer Advocate focuses on “Alphabet Soup and the CFP® Designation,” reminding people that it is up to consumer to research the various financial designations, providing questions to should ask when evaluating the worth of a financial professional’s credentials, and sharing what the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certification means.

The new "Let's Talk Planning" blog on CFP Board's consumer website, www.letsmakeaplan.org, features weekly messages from CFP Board’s Consumer Advocate, Eleanor Blayney, CFP®, reinforcing that financial planning is for everyone and CFP® professionals are available to help people bring their finances together.

Other recent blog posts have addressed:

  • Obamacare and its impact on employees of large companies
  • The Overturn of DOMA and its impact on financial planning for same-sex couples
  • Things to think about when choosing a financial advisor
  • Tips to help new Americans move closer to their financial goals

Follow the blog for timely topics you can share or discuss with your clients and potential clients.

Visit the blog >

Subscribe to the blog >

Recording of July Business Update Webinar Now Available

If you missed the important updates on CFP Board's initiatives presented during CFP Board’s July 12, 2013 Business Update Webinar, a recording is now available for on-demand viewing.

This webinar was presented in an interactive format hosted by Louis Barajas, CFP®. Panelists Nancy A. Kistner, CFP®, 2013 Chair of CFP Board's Board of Directors, Ray Ferrara, CFP®, 2013 Chair-Elect, and Kevin R. Keller, CAE, CFP Board's CEO, shared the latest news on CFP Board's activities, including:

  • Report from the July 2013 Board of Directors Meeting
  • CFP Board’s Overarching Outcomes:
    • Awareness
    • Growth
    • Recognition/Regulation
    • Authority
  • CFP Board’s Public Awareness Campaign and the results of the campaign’s first two years
  • CFP Board’s Growth outcome and new Women’s Initiative
  • Update on advocacy for a Uniform Fiduciary Standard
  • Answers to questions from webinar attendees

View the recorded webinar >

Upcoming CFP Board Events

  • August 7: Webinar - How to Avoid Misleading Compensation Disclosures
  • August 8 -9: CFP Board Registered Program Conference, Washington, DC
    This annual gathering of educators from colleges and universities that offer CFP Board- Registered Programs – coursework to meet the education requirement for initial certification – provides program directors and faculty the opportunity to learn from colleagues about innovative trends in student learning and retention. This year’s conference theme is "Pathway to CFP® Certification: Building Theory, Enriching Practice."
  • September 18: CFP® Certificant Connections in Washington, DC (8am) and Baltimore (5:30pm) – Save the date! Details coming soon
  • September 19: CFP® Certificant Connection in Philadelphia (8am) – Save the Date! Details coming soon
  • November 15-16: CFP® Certification Examination (registration deadline October 8)

CFP Board in the News

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

  • CNBC’s story on the importance of screening a potential financial advisor mentions the CFP® certification first among a list of meaningful credentials
  • The Wall Street Journal reporting on conservative investing trends among millennials quotes CFP Board’s Consumer Advocate, Eleanor Blayney, CFP®
  • CFP Board Ambassador Joshua T. Hatfield Charles, CFP® is quoted by Financial Advisor magazine and The Kojo Nnamdi Show regarding how recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions affect financial planning issues for same-sex couples

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

Stay Connected with CFP Board on Social Media

If you aren’t already following CFP Board on social media channels, we invite you to join CFP Board’s LinkedIn group. Become a member of the group to engage in discussions with others who share your interest in financial planning, to receive information about CFP Board news & events, and to share ideas and discuss topics related to the financial planning profession.

We also encourage you to engage with us on Twitter (@CFPBoard and @EleanorBlayney) or Facebook (CFP Board and our Consumer Advocate). These channels feature consumer-focused messages and links to financial planning information from news articles written by or featuring CFP® professionals, with posts on important financial topics that you might consider sharing with your followers.

Find tips for using social media in CFP Board's Social Media Guide for CFP® Professionals >

Share our Public Awareness Campaign messages through social media >

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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.

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