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CFP Board



May 23, 2019


In This Issue:

“Certificant Connections” Podcast Series Features Conversation with Susan John, CFP®, 2019 CFP Board Chair

The latest episode of CFP Board’s Certificant Connections Podcast series features guest Susan John, CFP®, 2019 Chair of CFP Board. This episode is about big-picture issues that CFP Board is looking at, including client psychology, CFP Board’s wide variety of programs, plans for the future and the upcoming Board of Directors meeting.
Learn more >

CFP Board Research Shows One-Third of Americans Don’t Know about Employer Retirement Plan Options

Despite one of the strongest economies in decades, only 1 in 4 Americans feels financially prepared for retirement, according to new research recently released by CFP Board, in collaboration with global research firm Morning Consult.

Nearly 8 in 10 (79 percent) also do not feel reassured that they have the best retirement savings strategies available to them. This may be a result of consumers not knowing what options exist as 3 in 10 do not know if their current employer offers a retirement savings plan and 1 in 4 say saving for retirement is too complicated.

The CFP Board/Morning Consult Survey was conducted as part of a new effort by CFP Board to identify challenges to the current retirement system and develop recommendations for policymakers to improve it.

A report commissioned by CFP Board and drafted by Fred Reish, an internationally known expert in retirement issues and partner at Drinker Biddle, will be released by the end of the year. The report will be informed by a Retirement Issues Working Group, which is a blue-ribbon panel of CFP® professionals providing on-the-ground, practical experiences with retirement security issues.

“With so many Americans getting a late start on retirement savings, the odds are high that they will be unprepared to maintain the lifestyle they’re accustomed to living,” said Kevin Keller, CFP Board CEO, in a news release accompanying the survey release. “Americans know how important it is to save for retirement, but the truth is more than a third of those surveyed are overwhelmed by the process and, critically, many do not understand what products and resources are available to them.”

Despite this, 60 percent of Americans who report receiving retirement advice from a financial professional say they have “definitely” benefitted from this service. Additionally, more than half (54 percent) of Americans believe they would benefit from receiving retirement savings advice from a financial professional, if they decided to use one in the future.

The survey also showed that nearly half of Americans (49 percent) think adults should start saving for retirement in their 20s, but few follow their own advice. More than 1 in 4 (26 percent) delay saving for retirement until their 30s, while another 15 percent wait until their 40s. Most alarming, approximately 1 in 10 Americans (8 percent) wait to start saving for retirement until after 50 years of age.

“The nuances to retirement savings vary based on circumstantial factors, such as what you can afford to save and what savings programs are available to you,” Keller said. “This survey shows there is still a lack of clarity about what options are available to retirement savers, including ethical and competent financial advice. It’s time for Congress, the Administration and other stakeholders, including CFP Board, to come together to develop new solutions to meet the retirement crisis that we will inevitably face.”

Public Forums on New Code and Standards in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle, June 4-6

Registration is now open for our Public Forums on the new Code and Standards in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle on June 4-6, 2019. Please plan to join us for these private receptions and town hall-style events, focused on educating CFP® professionals, firms and the public on the new Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct, which becomes effective October 1, 2019. Click the links below for details and to register.

Los Angeles, CA, Tuesday, June 4, 2019, 5:30 – 7:00 p.m.
San Francisco, CA, Wednesday, June 5, 2019, 7:30 – 9:00 a.m.
Portland, OR, Wednesday, June 5, 2019, 5:30 – 7:00 p.m.
Seattle, WA, Thursday, June 6, 2019, 7:30 – 9:00 a.m.

Focus on Ethics: Reporting Obligations to CFP Board

CFP Board’s new Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct (“Code and Standards”), which takes effect on October 1, 2019, includes several updates to a CFP® professional’s reporting obligations to CFP Board, both in the types of matters to be reported and the process for reporting.

The current Rules of Conduct (in the Standards of Professional Conduct that remains in effect through September 30, 2019) states that a CFP® professional “shall not engage in conduct which reflects adversely on his or her integrity or fitness as a certificant, upon the CFP® marks, or upon the profession.” Over time, CFP Board’s Disciplinary and Ethics Commission has identified conduct that violates this standard, such as a personal bankruptcy. The new Code and Standards retains this principles-based standard and identifies specific examples of conduct that violates the standard.

The new Reporting standard expands the number and types of events that a CFP® professional is required to disclose to CFP Board within 30 calendar days. The current Standards of Professional Conduct that remains in effect through September 30, 2019 requires a CFP® professional to notify CFP Board in writing, within 30 calendar days, only when the CFP® professional has been convicted of a crime (other than a minor traffic offense) or has been the subject of a professional disciplinary suspension, bar, or revocation issued by a governmental agency, an industry self-regulatory organization, or a professional association.

The new Reporting standard, which is set forth in Standard E.3 of the new Code and Standards, requires a CFP® professional to provide written notice to CFP Board within 30 calendar days after the CFP® professional or an entity over which the CFP® professional is a Control Person has engaged in conduct that is listed in Standard E.3. You must provide written notice to CFP Board within 30 calendar days if you have:

  • Been charged with, convicted of, or admitted into a program that defers or withholds the entry of a judgment or conviction for, a Felony or Relevant Misdemeanor;
  • Been named as a subject of, or whose conduct is mentioned adversely in, a Regulatory Investigation or Regulatory Action alleging failure to comply with the laws, rules, or regulations governing Professional Services;
  • Had conduct mentioned adversely in a Finding in a Regulatory Action involving failure to comply with the laws, rules, or regulations governing Professional Services (except a Regulatory Action involving a Minor Rule Violation in a Regulatory Action brought by a self-regulatory organization);
  • Had conduct mentioned adversely in a Civil Action alleging failure to comply with the laws, rules, or regulations governing Professional Services;
  • Become aware of an adverse arbitration award or civil judgment, or a settlement agreement, in a Civil Action alleging failure to comply with the laws, rules, or regulations governing Professional Services, where the conduct of the CFP® professional, or an entity over which the CFP® professional was a Control Person, was mentioned adversely, other than a settlement for an amount less than $15,000;
  • Had conduct mentioned adversely in a Civil Action alleging fraud, theft, misrepresentation, or other dishonest conduct;
  • Been the subject of a Finding of fraud, theft, misrepresentation, or other dishonest conduct in a Regulatory Action or Civil Action;
  • Become aware of an adverse arbitration award or civil judgment, or a settlement agreement in a Civil Action alleging fraud, theft, misrepresentation, or other dishonest conduct, where the conduct of the CFP® professional, or an entity over which the CFP® professional was a Control Person, was mentioned adversely;
  • Had a professional license, certification, or membership suspended, revoked, or materially restricted because of a violation of rules or standards of conduct;
  • Been terminated for cause from employment or permitted to resign in lieu of termination when the cause of the termination or resignation involved allegations of dishonesty, unethical conduct, or compliance failures;
  • Been named as the subject of, or been identified as the broker/adviser of record in, any written, customer-initiated complaint that alleged the CFP® professional was involved in:
    • Forgery, theft, misappropriation, or conversion of Financial Assets;
    • Sales practice violations and contained a claim for compensation of $5,000 or more; or
    • Sales practice violations and settled for an amount of $15,000 or more.
  • Filed for or been the subject of a personal bankruptcy or business bankruptcy where the CFP® professional was a Control Person;
  • Received notice of a federal tax lien on property owned by the CFP® professional; or
  • Failed to satisfy a non-federal tax lien, judgment lien, or civil judgment within one year of its date of entry, unless payment arrangements have been agreed upon by all parties.

The written notice to CFP Board must include a narrative statement that accurately and completely describes the Material facts and the outcome or status of the reportable matter.

CFP Board’s new reporting requirement generally is based upon the reporting requirements set forth in Form U4 (Uniform Application for Securities Industry Registration or Transfer) without fully adopting or mirroring Form U4’s disclosure requirements. In fact, certain potentially problematic conduct may not need to be disclosed on Form U4, but will need to be disclosed to CFP Board. Reporting of potentially problematic conduct on Form U4 will not relieve CFP® professionals of their separate obligation to disclose conduct to CFP Board. The reporting requirement enables CFP Board to receive information in a timely manner and eliminates any confusion about the reporting timeline.

Read other articles in the “Focus on Ethics” series >

On March 29, 2018, CFP Board announced that its Board of Directors unanimously approved a new Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct (“Code and Standards”), which sets forth the ethical standards for CFP® professionals. The new Code and Standards replaces CFP Board’s current Terminology, Code of Ethics, Rules of Conduct and Financial Planning Practice Standards, effective October 1, 2019. During the time between the announcement date and the effective date of the new Code and Standards, CFP Board will undertake a thorough process to educate and inform CFP® professionals on the new Code and Standards.

New Guidance on Code and Standards for "Fee-Only" CFP® Professionals

CFP Board recently released a new guidance document to assist “Fee-Only” CFP® professionals in complying with the Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct (Code and Standards).

“The cornerstone of the new Code and 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 and 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 and Standards. Additional guidance documents will be released prior to and after the October 1, 2019 effective date. View the current suite of guidance documents at www.CFP.net/code.

“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.”

CFP® Examination Update

The next CFP® exam testing window is July 9-16, 2019. Standard Registration is available through June 11, 2019.

Please encourage your qualified colleagues to continue their pursuit of CFP® certification, and remind them to register for the CFP® exam early for the best date and site availability. Learn more and register at www.CFP.net/exam.

Resources for Colleagues on the Path to CFP® Certification

Growth in the number of CFP® professionals strengthens the profession and the certification. Share these resources to help a colleague along the path to CFP® certification.CFP Exam Candidate Preparation Toolkit

  • Share our Why CFP® Certification guide that outlines the reasons pursuing CFP® certification is a great career move.
  • Share the CFP® Exam Candidate Preparation Toolkit, which helps candidates develop study strategies, manage time and build support from employers and peers as they prepare for the CFP® Exam.
  • Share this video of CFP® professionals discussing the different pathways they took to gain the professional experience required for CFP® certification.
  • Refer your colleagues to CFP Board so we can introduce them to CFP® certification on your behalf.

Special Webinar with CFP Board Leadership, July 12, 1pm Eastern

Join us on Friday, July 12, 2019 from 1:00 - 2:00 pm (Eastern Time), when CFP Board’s leadership will share reports from the latest meeting of CFP Board’s Board of Directors, provide updates on CFP Board’s activities and initiatives, and answer questions from the audience.


This webinar series is a great opportunity to interact with CFP Board's leadership and hear their views on the state of the financial planning profession. Our February 2019 Business Update Webinar featured updates on progress toward CFP Board's 2019 strategic priorities, including new Public Awareness Campaign advertising and the new Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct, as well as answers to audience questions.

View archived Business Update Webinars >

  CFP Board Center for Financial Planning  
  Updates from the Center for Financial Planning:
  • 2018 Annual ReportCenter Releases 2018 Annual Report: The Center continued to make significant strides in 2018 to advance the financial planning profession by improving the health of our talent pipeline, fostering greater diversity within our workforce and increasing the quality of our practitioners’ knowledge and insights. We did this by leveraging rigorous research, research-based programs and broad collaborations to drive toward innovative solutions for the growth and sustainability of our profession. We are proud to share these achievements with you in our 2018 Annual Report.
  • Envestnet and CFP Board Center for Financial Planning Announce Education Scholarship for CFP® Certification: The Center and Envestnet announced a new scholarship to support individuals looking to become CFP® professionals. The Envestnet Scholarship provides up to $5,000 in financial assistance to individuals from underrepresented populations seeking to complete requirements for CFP® certification. The first round of scholarships were recently awarded to 11 individuals. Read more >
  • Second Annual Diversity Summit in Washington, DC, November 13: The Center is pleased to announce the second annual Diversity Summit to be held on November 13, 2019 at the JW Marriott in Washington, DC. The event will build upon the success of last year’s inaugural Summit that drew over 300 thought leaders within and outside financial planning for a discussion of initiatives to advance racial diversity in the financial planning profession. The event featured the release of Racial Diversity in Financial Planning: Where We are and Where We Must Go, Center’s research-based thought leadership paper that outlines actionable solutions for industry stakeholders to create a more inclusive profession.

    2018 Diversity SummitThis year’s event will build upon this momentum and will focus on accountability, highlighting what key stakeholder groups are doing to implement the Center’s recommendations and advance diversity in financial planning. We are expecting a similar level of interest and turnout this year, including executives from large firms, RIA firms, leaders from CFP Board Registered Programs, experts in diversity and inclusion, and organizations focused on advancing people of color. If you are interested in participating in the upcoming Summit, or know individuals who fit this bill, please contact Eddy Demirovic at edemirovic@cfpboard.org.

  • Wharton’s Musto Named Guest Editor for FinTech Special Issue of Financial Planning Review: The Center recently announced David Musto, Ph.D., of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, as guest editor of an upcoming FinTech Special Issue of its double-blind, peer-reviewed academic journal, Financial Planning Review. This special issue will present the latest research in financial technology and innovation that encompasses the eight major content areas of Financial Planning Review, and directly or indirectly relates to financial planning practice. The Center will accept submissions of research papers for the special issue through December 31, 2019. Read more >
  • Paid Return-to-Work Internships Now Available: The Center, in partnership with career re-entry firm iRelaunch, has launched a 2019 offering of the Financial Planner Re-Entry Initiative (FPRI) that connects firms in the financial planning sector with experienced professionals seeking to reenter the workforce after a career break. We are currently seeking candidates for the Fidelity RESUME Return-to-Work Internship Program, Northwestern Mutual ReLaunch Program (Austin, TX), and the Sullivan Bruyette Speros & Blayney Financial Planning Return-to-Work Internship Program (McLean, VA).  Additional positions will be posted on the FPRI webpage as they become available.
  • Client Psychology Course from the Center and Wharton Executive Education, July 2019: Following a successful first offering in April, the Center and the Aresty Institute of Executive Education at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania are launching the second offering of the Client Psychology course this July in San Francisco. Designed to help financial planning professionals build a more effective and client-centered practice, the course will be offered over three days from July 29 - 31, and CFP® professionals attending this program will receive 21.5 hours of general CFP Board CE credit, offered by Wharton as CE provider.  Learn more and Register to Attend >
  • Financial Planning Teaching Seminar from the Center and Columbia University, August 2019: Building upon a successful third seminar held earlier this month, the Center and Columbia University School of Professional Studies are offering another session on August 18-20, on the Columbia University campus in New York. The three-day, experience-based program provides training to individuals who are interested in becoming full-time or part-time faculty in a CFP Board Registered Program.  Learn more and Register for the Teaching Seminar >
  • Advance the Profession by Supporting the Center: We encourage you to consider making a contribution to the Center for Financial Planning. Your donation to the Center supports important work to create a more diverse and sustainable financial planner workforce and build a research-based, recognized body of knowledge for the financial planning profession.
    Support the Center >


Upcoming Events


  • Nominations for 2020 Board of Directors Due June 7, 2019: CFP Board is now accepting applications from individuals interested in serving on CFP Board's Board of Directors (Board), the strategic governing body of the organization, beginning in January 2020. This year, the Board’s Nominating Committee is seeking self-nominations of individuals with CFP® certification, or those with a deep professional understanding of the financial planning industry, to answer the call to serve the public through board representation. Learn more >
  • FPSB Seeks Candidates for 2020 Board of Directors: Financial Planning Standards Board Ltd. (FPSB), owner of the international CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER certification program outside the United States, is seeking nominations for two open four-year positions on FPSB’s Board of Directors beginning April 1, 2020. Nominations should be submitted to the FPSB Nominating Committee Coordinator by June 10, 2019. Learn more >
  • Become a Mentor to Individuals Pursuing CFP® Certification: The CFP Board Mentor Program is designed to connect individuals pursuing CFP® certification with current CFP® professionals for guidance and support as they navigate their path to certification. CFP® professionals serving as mentors share guidance and practical advice based on their experience taking the CFP® exam and pursuing careers in the financial planning profession. Learn More and Enroll in the Mentor Program >
  • Report Your Pro Bono Hours: Thousands of CFP® professionals across the country are providing free, no-strings attached, one-on-one financial advice to underserved people. Are you one of them? Please let us know if you provide pro bono services so that we can educate the public and policymakers about the great things our profession does to help people in need. Report your pro bono hours today through an online tool available within the “My CFP® Certification” section of CFP® professionals’ online accounts.
  • Job Opportunity: Manager, Financial Planning Knowledge Center: CFP Board seeks a highly motivated team player, preferably a CFP® professional, to manage the content and strategy of the new Financial Planning Knowledge Center website that will launch this fall. Learn more >

Display the CFP® Marks with Pride

CFP Board offers a range of products – including mugs, notebooks, umbrellas, bags, apparel, and more – branded with the CFP® mark for you to display your certification with pride. Take a look at our NEW online store! We will be releasing new products regularly throughout the coming year, so make sure to keep checking in.

Questions? Email Taylor Fealy at tfealy@cfpboard.org.


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