CFP Board Pulse Survey: 5,000 Certified Financial Planner™ Professionals Provide Insights Into Investor Reactions to Market Downturn

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CFP Board Pulse Survey: 5,000 Certified Financial Planner™ Professionals Provide Insights Into Investor Reactions to Market Downturn

Oct 21, 2008

Clients of CFP® Professionals Respond to Market Turmoil with Confidence in Their Existing Strategies; Only about 1 in 10 Planners Say Financial “Rescue Bill” Will “Definitely” Improve the Economy

WASHINGTON, DC, October 21, 2008 – How are U.S. investors reacting to the current market turbulence? A major new “Pulse” survey from Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board) reveals that 78 percent of the clients of CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals are standing firm with their existing financial planning strategies. Clients of CFP® professionals are taking steps in line with their long-term financial goals, with under half (45 percent) moving their assets to lower risk investments at the same time that a nearly equal percentage (40 percent) are taking advantage of the lower stock prices.

The new “Pulse” survey questioned CFP® professionals about their views and the practices of their clients. Based on responses submitted online by 5,261 CFP® certificants, the survey found:

  • Two thirds of financial planners have seen an increase in potential clients “as the turbulence with the economy has increased over the past several weeks,” with 27 percent reporting a significant increase and 39 percent a moderate increase.
  • When asked what actions their clients are taking with their financial plans, 78 percent of respondents said “standing firm with existing strategies,” 57 percent said “reviewing asset allocation,” 48 percent said “reviewing financial goals,” 45 percent said “moving assets to lower-risk positions,” 40 percent said “taking advantage of investment opportunities,” and 37 percent said “rebalancing portfolio.”
  • When asked what actions they are taking with own financial plans, 78 percent of respondents said “standing firm with existing strategies,” 45 percent said “moving assets to lower-risk positions,” 42 percent said “taking advantage of investment opportunities,” 20 percent said “reviewing asset allocation,” and 13 percent said “reviewing financial goals.”
  • Only about one in 10 CFP® professionals (11 percent) say that the financial system “rescue bill” will “definitely” improve the economy. About four out of 10 financial planners (42 percent) think the financial “rescue bill” will be “moderately successful in reviving the economy,” compared to 13 percent who say the bill is “not the right approach to reviving the economy.”

“In contrast to the many Americans who have reacted to recent market fluctuations with fear and sometimes drastic changes in their financial strategies, individuals who are working with CFP® professionals are responding to the same situation with confident and measured approaches,” said CFP Board CEO, Kevin R. Keller. “Most clients of CFP® professionals are hanging tough in the face of the current financial crisis, with many actually taking advantage of lower stock prices to increase their holdings. The significant increase in the number of potential clients who have contacted CFP® professionals during the past few weeks shows that more Americans are recognizing the value of working with financial planners who are held to rigorous standards of ethics and competence.”

Keller stated, “It also is striking to see the extent to which CFP® certificants are taking a cautious, wait-and-see attitude when it comes to the financial ‘rescue bill,’ with relatively few willing to flatly predict that it will be successful in improving the economy.”

Other key findings of the CFP Board survey include the following:

  • About half of financial planners (46 percent) think that “about two years” will pass “before consumers see a positive impact on their financial situation as a result of the actions taken by the government.” Nearly a third of respondents (32 percent) expect the lag to last two-five years, 4 percent said five-seven years, 2 percent said more than seven years and 16 percent said they were not sure.

  • More than three out of four respondents (78 percent) said that the government's recent efforts to revive the economy have not had an impact on their vote in November, compared to 17 percent who said yes and 6 percent who said they are not sure.

  • More than seven out of 10 respondents (72 percent) think that the news media’s coverage of the current economic uncertainties “exaggerates (the) situation,” compared to 13 percent who feel the reporting is not sufficiently detailed, 10 percent who see it as balanced, 1 percent who say the media downplays the situation, and 3 percent with no opinion.

Complete topline survey results are available online at

For recommendations about how to deal with the current market downturn, see “Managing Your Money in Tough Economic Times”.

The mission of Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. is to benefit the public by granting the CFP® certification and upholding it as the recognized standard of excellence for personal 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 58,000 individuals to use these marks in the United States.

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CFP® - The Recognized Standard of Excellence in Personal Financial Planning

Chris Wloszczyna, Director of Public Relations
CFP Board
P: 202-379-2252

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Did You Know?

Among clients who work with an advisor, 87% of those working with a CFP® professional are satisfied or very satisfied, compared with 72% of those who work with an advisor without certification.
Anyone can call themselves a “financial planner.” Only professionals who meet CFP Board’s rigorous standards can call themselves CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals.
The 2013 Household Financial Planning Survey shows that those with a financial plan feel more confident and report more success managing money, savings and investments than those without a plan.
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