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Updates from CFP Board - July 26, 2012

CFP Board Adopts Sanction Guidelines, Effective August 27, 2012

At its July meeting, CFP Board's Board of Directors approved the introduction of Sanction Guidelines, with an effective date of August 27, 2012.

The Sanction Guidelines were developed to assist the Disciplinary and Ethics Commission ("Commission"), the group charged with conducting disciplinary hearings in accordance with CFP Board's Disciplinary Rules and Procedures, in maintaining consistency regarding the imposition of sanctions for similar offenses. The Sanction Guidelines identify specific conduct that is a violation of CFP Board's Standards of Professional Conduct, the sanction guideline for that conduct and policy notes for the Commission to consider when imposing the appropriate sanction. The proposed Sanction Guidelines may also be used by the Appeals Committee of the Board of Directors, which considers appeals of Commission decisions.

The approval of the Sanction Guidelines by the Board of Directors follows the careful and thoughtful review of comments received during a 45-day comment period held from April 30, 2012 through June 14, 2012. During that comment period, CFP Board received a total of 33 comments and 162 responses to an online survey. Many commenters suggested that the sanction guidelines for specific categories of conduct were too lenient but were generally in favor of the proposed Sanction Guidelines. CFP Board considered these comments and modified its initial proposal to increase the sanction guidelines for several categories of conduct. In other instances, CFP Board amended the guidelines to provide for more clarity. CFP Board appreciates everyone who took time to provide feedback on the proposed Sanction Guidelines during the comment period.

Read the full text of CFP Board's Sanction Guidelines > (PDF, 163 KB)

Webinar: What Should I Know About CFP Board's New Sanction Guidelines?

CFP Board will discuss the Sanction Guidelines in more detail during a webinar on August 14, 2012 at 1:30 p.m. (Eastern). The webinar will provide an overview of the Sanction Guidelines and discuss how they affect CFP® professionals and CFP Board’s disciplinary process.

Register Now!

V. Raymond Ferrara, CFP® Elected CFP Board's 2013 Chair-Elect

Well-known speaker and financial planning pioneer, V. Raymond Ferrara, CFP® has been elected to CFP Board's Board of Directors as 2013 Chair-Elect. His peers chose him for this prestigious role at the Board of Directors' July meeting.

"There is no better time than now for Americans to discover financial planning and the value of using a CFP® professional to put together the pieces of their financial lives," said Ferrara. "I look forward to working with my colleagues to increase awareness of our marks and the financial planning profession, as well as to ensure that all Americans have access to ethical and competent financial advice."

Ferrara is currently president and CEO of ProVise Management Group, LLC, one of the largest financial planning firms in the country. The firm, located in Clearwater, Florida, manages more than $630 million in assets. Authoring numerous articles and often quoted by the press, Ferrara has been featured as one of the country's best financial planners in the book Secrets of the Wealth Makers and hosted the radio program, "Talking Money"™ for 10 years. Ferrara is a Board observer for National Financial Partners, Inc. and previously served on the Board of Directors for the Financial Planning Association (FPA) and the National Advisor's Trust Company (NATC).

The Board of Directors elected Ferrara at its July 11-13 meeting. He will begin his duties as Chair-Elect on January 1, 2013, when Nancy Kistner, CFP® begins her term as 2013 Chair.

"Ray brings with him more than four decades of experience and know-how that we will all benefit from," said current Board of Directors Chair Alan Goldfarb, CFP®. "He has made so many contributions to our profession and I look forward to his leadership to advance the work CFP Board is doing in benefiting the public and increasing much needed awareness of financial planning and our certification."

In addition to helping to advance the profession of financial planning, Ferrara is also active in the community and has served on the Board of Directors of Eckerd Youth Alternatives, Morton Plant Mease Healthcare, BayCare Health System, University of Maryland Foundation, West Central Florida Council Boy Scouts of America and the Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce. Ferrara is the first-ever recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Tampa Bay FPA chapter. He lives with his wife, Kim, in Bellair, Florida.

Survey: Financial Planning Helps Americans of All Income Levels, Even During Hard Times

On July 23, 2012, CFP Board and the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) released findings from a survey conducted to assess Americans' household financial goals, liabilities and strategies for saving and investing. The 2012 Household Financial Planning Survey, conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International (PSRAI), included comparisons to a similar survey conducted in 1997. The results from this objective and reliable survey show that Americans with a personal financial plan feel more confident and report more success managing money, savings and investments than those who have not prepared a financial plan.

The survey found that many Americans are currently facing financial challenges and lack optimism about their finances. Nearly two-fifths (38%) of the 1,508 household financial decision-makers surveyed said they live paycheck to paycheck, while less than one-third (30%) indicated they felt comfortable financially and only about one-third (34%) think they can afford to retire by age 65.

Yet, according to several measures of financial well-being, those with a financial plan report faring better than those without one:

  • By a margin of 50 percent to 32 percent, and for all but the lowest income bracket (under $25,000) where few have a comprehensive plan, planners are more likely to feel they are on pace to meet all of their financial goals, such as saving for retirement or for emergencies;
  • By an even larger margin of 52 percent to 30 percent, and across all income brackets, planners are more likely to feel "very confident" about managing money, savings and investments;
  • By a margin of 48 percent to 22 percent, planners are more likely to describe themselves as living comfortably; in addition, as many planners in the $50,000-$99,999 income bracket say that they live comfortably as non-planners in the $100,000 and above bracket;
  • For those in these two highest income brackets, planners report saving a higher percentage of income and having built greater wealth than non-planners. For example, planners with incomes $50,000-$99,999 are more likely to report they save 10 percent or more of their income (57% vs. 39%) and to have accumulated at least $100,000 in investments (37% vs. 19%);
  • For those in the two lowest income brackets, planners with credit cards report being much more likely to pay credit card bills in full. That is true both for those in the $25,000-$49,999 income bracket – 46 percent for planners and 26 percent for non-planners – and for those with incomes under $25,000 – 41 percent for planners and 16 percent for non-planners; and

"Our survey clearly shows that having a personal financial plan helps both rich and poor achieve their financial goals," said Stephen Brobeck, CFA's Executive Director. "Having a financial plan increases one's confidence and effectiveness in managing, borrowing and saving money."

Unfortunately, only 31 percent of respondents said they had a comprehensive financial plan, while about two-thirds (65%) indicated they follow a plan for at least one of their savings goals. The 2012 survey also revealed that slightly more than half of respondents said "it's hard for me to know who to trust for financial advice" (55%), "to me investing seems complicated" (52%), and "I'm worried about losing my money if I invest it" (55%), a significant increase from the 45 percent who expressed this worry in 1997. These findings are not especially surprising in light of the financial crisis and its aftermath, and demonstrate the need to educate the public on the value of working with CFP® professionals.

"Consumers understandably are more nervous about investing their money given recent revelations about financial fraud, manipulation and abuse of clients," said Kevin Keller, CFP Board's CEO. "This doesn't mean that people shouldn't create a financial plan and be prepared. We encourage consumers to do their homework and find a financial professional who always puts the clients' best interests first and abides by a fiduciary standard of care."

CFP Board encourages all CFP® professionals and our other stakeholders to consider sharing in your communities the survey findings and its message of the importance of financial planning.

Read a Summary of the Report > (PDF, 261KB)
Read the Full Survey Report > (PDF, 670KB)
Read the News Release >
Read USA Today's coverage of the 2012 Household Financial Planning Survey >

Study: Progress Made During First Year of CFP Board's Public Awareness Campaign

CFP Board's Public Awareness Campaign to raise consumer awareness of CFP® professionals launched in April 2011 and is well into its second year. A brand tracking study conducted around the campaign's one-year mark confirms that the campaign is having impact and positively moving awareness 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®, CFP Board's 2012 Chair-Elect, shared details on the study's findings during CFP Board's Business Update Webinar on July 13, 2012. View the recording on YouTube >

CFP Board's multi-year “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. Visit the Public Awareness Campaign Toolkit >

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Missed the Latest Business Update Webinar? Recording Now Available

A recording of CFP Board's latest Business Update Webinar was held on Friday, July 13, 2012, immediately following the most recent meeting of the Board of Directors. Hosted by Tim Kochis, CFP®, the webinar featured Alan Goldfarb, CFP®, 2012 Chair, Nancy A. Kistner, CFP®, 2012 Chair-Elect and Kevin R. Keller, CAE, CFP Board's CEO, sharing important updates on CFP Board's activities and accomplishments.

Use the links below to view the full webinar or sections focused on specific topics:

  • Full Webinar
  • Section 1: CFP Board's work with the Financial Planning Coalition opposing potential FINRA oversight of investment advisers
  • Section 2: Updates to CFP Board's enforcement of the Standards of Professional Conduct
  • Section 3: Research showing the progress made during the first year of CFP Board's Public Awareness Campaign to increase awareness of CFP® professionals
  • Section 4: Developments related to the CFP® certification requirements
  • Section 5: Q&A Session: Answers to audience questions

CFP Board's Consumer Advocate: To Attain Financial Independence, Financial Planning Is the Answer

Throughout 2012, CFP Board's Consumer Advocate Eleanor Blayney, CFP® is sharing a set of tips each month designed to help people address all the components and steps required for successful personal financial management. This "12 for '12 Approach to Financial Confidence" campaign addresses a specific topic each month, with a message from our Consumer Advocate issued in a nationally-distributed news release, and included in our monthly "Let's Make a Plan" consumer eNewsletter. July's "12 for '12" messages focus on the important role investing plays in financial planning:

"Even as we commemorate our nation's 236th birthday this month, we still struggle for independence. But today it's against a less notable tyrant than the frilly-wigged King George III. Our modern-day oppressor takes the form of widespread economic insecurity. Too many Americans lack the financial resources to be able to exercise a full range of choice over how they live their lives. They have lost their birthright to the American dream: to own a home, to provide for their families, to work hard and retire comfortably. They are constrained by necessity, rather than liberated by choice.

Financial planning is the answer. The process involves first looking at the financial realities of today – at one's cash flow, debt, and exposure to risk. It then considers the possibilities for the future: a secure and healthy retirement, education for children, a satisfying legacy for family and community. The critical planning link between the two, between today's facts and tomorrow's goals, is investing"

Read more about the 12 for '12 Approach to Financial Confidence campaign >
Subscribe to the "Let's Make a Plan" eNewsletter >

CFP Board Financial Planning Competency Handbook to Be Published by Wiley

CFP Board recently announced that John Wiley & Sons, Inc. will publish a first-of-its-kind competency handbook for financial planning. This new handbook, which is expected to be published in March 2013, will feature approximately 90 chapters that have implications for practitioners, educators and students interested in becoming personal financial planners. The handbook will also be available as an e-book on all major e-readers.

"The financial planning profession has long needed a book that encompasses not just the tactical pieces of putting together a financial plan, but also the academic underpinnings of a growing discipline," said CFP Board Chief Executive Officer Kevin R. Keller, CAE. "We are very pleased to work with Wiley on this book, which serves as a marker in the continued evolution of the financial planning profession."

The Financial Planning Competency Handbook will discuss the theoretical content, actions, and contexts that are necessary in financial planning practice. This handbook, designed for the entire profession of financial planning, will provide a theoretical framework for many of the major content areas in financial planning, while also providing real-world guidance for practicing professionals. It will also contain competency levels relative to financial planning practice as well as avenues for furthering student achievement in financial planner preparation programs. There will also be more than 100 vignettes that outline specific contexts in financial planning practice as well as the necessary decisions and actions of the practitioner within those settings.

"We're thrilled to partner with CFP Board to publish The Financial Planning Competency Handbook. This book fits perfectly with our mission at Wiley Global Finance to provide the finance community worldwide with must-have content they can rely on," said Joan O'Neil, Wiley's Vice President & Group Executive Publisher responsible for global finance and accounting publishing within the Professional/Trade Division.

CFP Board Registered Program Conference: Washington, DC, August 9-10, 2012

Financial planning educators from around the country will be gathering in Washington, DC on August 9-19, 2012 for the 2012 CFP Board Registered Program Conference. The theme of this year's conference is Financial Planning Education Vision 2020: Engagement, Application, Assessment, and the conference is both a showcase for innovative ideas as well as forward thinking, considering financial planning education in the near future.

View the schedule of events and register to attend at www.CFP.net/conference

FPA Experience 2012: San Antonio, TX, September 29-October 2, 2012

Thousands of CFP® professionals belong to FPA, and each year many of them attend the largest gathering of CFP® practitioners and the financial planning community, FPA Experience 2012. At FPA Experience 2012 in San Antonio, Texas, you can earn CE credit, connect with other CFP® professionals, and help shape the financial planning profession. As a CFP® professional you have an opportunity to participate in the premier financial planning event of the year where you can experience unparalleled networking opportunities, high-quality diverse educational sessions for all career stages and an exhibit hall showcasing with the latest product and service providers to help you manage and grow your business.

For more information view the full program and impressive speaker line up today!

Register by August 17, 2012 and SAVE $400!

Volunteer Opportunities

CFP Board’s work benefits greatly from the generous contributions CFP® professionals and other stakeholders provide through volunteer service. If you have interest in making a direct contribution to CFP Board’s work, please take time to complete a volunteer application form. Learn more >

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