CFP Board Releases "Code & Standards" Guidance for 'Fee-Only' CFP® Professionals

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CFP Board Releases "Code & Standards" Guidance for 'Fee-Only' CFP® Professionals

May 14, 2019

New document provides detailed information to help understand new standards

Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards (CFP Board) today issued a new guidance document to assist “fee-only” CFP® professionals in complying with the Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct (Code & Standards).

“The cornerstone of the new Code & Standards is the requirement that all CFP® professionals act as a fiduciary at all times when providing financial advice to a client,” said Kevin R. Keller, CFP Board’s Chief Executive Officer. “At the same time, the new Code & Standards has specific implications for ‘fee-only’ CFP® professionals. This new document provides them the guidance they need to work on a ‘fee-only’ basis and stay true to the new rules.”

Highlights of the “fee-only” guidance document include:

  • Clear, plain English definitions on what it means to be practicing as a “fee-only” CFP® professional
  • Decision trees to help CFP® professionals determine if they are providing financial advice and financial planning
  • Examples of conflicts of interest and suggestions for how to address them
  • A detailed graphic illustrating the practice standards for the financial planning process
  • Specific requirements for what information CFP® professionals must provide clients

CFP Board is releasing this new guidance document as part of an effort to educate CFP® professionals and their firms on how to comply with the new Code & Standards. Additional guidance documents will be released prior to and after the October 1, 2019 effective date. 

“We recognize that CFP® professionals and their firms have asked CFP Board to develop guidance that will help them to effectively comply with the new standards,” said Leo Rydzewski, CFP Board’s General Counsel. “This document and others that will be forthcoming provide the guidance that helps promote full compliance.”

The new documents and materials – such as case studies, updated FAQs and other written guidance – will reflect the input CFP Board has received at its public forums and other venues. Comprised of individuals from financial services firms and members of the public, a Standards Resource Commission is developing materials to assist with compliance.

More materials, including videos and FAQs, can be found at


Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. is the professional body for personal financial planners in the U.S.  CFP Board sets standards for financial planning and administers the prestigious CFP® certification – one of the most respected certifications in financial services – so that the public has access to and benefits from competent and ethical financial planning.  CFP Board, along with its Center for Financial Planning, is committed to increasing the public’s awareness of CFP® certification and access to a diverse, ethical and competent financial planning workforce. Widely recognized by firms and consumer groups as the standard for financial planning, CFP® certification is held by more than 84,000 people in the United States.

CONTACT: Dan Drummond, Director of Communications M: 202-243-8621 E:

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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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