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CFP Board

November 21, 2013

In This Issue:

Financial Planning Days Brings Free Financial Planning to Americans


This fall marked the fourth year of the national Financial Planning Days initiative, consisting of free, daylong public events in 20 cities nationwide that connected thousands of consumers with hundreds of CFP® professionals who volunteered to offer free financial consultations and classroom workshops at designated schools, municipal buildings, and libraries.

Organized by CFP Board, Financial Planning Association, Foundation for Financial Planning and the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Financial Planning Days are designed to raise awareness of the importance of personal financial planning and to provide Americans with competent and ethical financial advice with no strings attached.

Events were organized by local city governments and FPA chapters, in close collaboration with the national partners, and were promoted by numerous media outlets and community organizations. Many events featured mayoral proclamations of a Financial Planning Day and were kicked off with welcome remarks from mayors and local officials.

For many consumers who attended, Financial Planning Days were their first opportunity to meet with a CFP® professional. Some come in with highly specific questions, such as wanting to know the tax consequences of a foreclosure on their home, or the best way for a couple to coordinate their Social Security benefits, while others wanted an “over the shoulder” general check-up to see if they are on track for retirement or for sending their child to college. Whatever the question, attendees received well-considered advice, with absolutely no pressure to buy any product or to enter into an engagement with the adviser.

If the overwhelmingly positive comments from attendees and volunteers weren’t enough to highlight the benefits these events provided, post-event surveys from this year’s initiative have shown that 96% of attendees were satisfied with the information they received, while 82% indicated that they feel confident in their financial future because of their experience at a Financial Planning Day.

CFP Board to Implement Multi-Year CE Quality Improvement Program

At its November 2013 meeting, CFP Board’s Board of Directors adopted a resolution supporting CFP Board’s implementation of a new quality improvement initiative for continuing education (CE), similar to practices utilized by the established professions. The Board also resolved that CFP Board would not enter the CE market as a provider at this time.

The new CE quality improvement initiatives adopted by the Board are modeled on the CE standards and program review processes of the CPA profession, which serve as a benchmark for a profession based on technical accuracy and regulatory compliance. CFP Board’s implementation of the program will include a number of short- and long-term initiatives to be implemented over the next three to five years, in partnership with CFP® professionals and CE Sponsors registered with CFP Board. With this plan, CFP Board will:

  • Implement a complaint procedure for CFP® professionals to report concerns with CE programs;
  • Require CE Sponsors to state each program’s learning objectives, so that the attendees will know what they are expected to learn;
  • Require CE Sponsors to state the level of complexity (i.e., beginner, intermediate, advanced), so that the attendees can select content for their level of expertise;
  • Enhance auditing of CE programs by CFP Board staff;
  • Collaborate with CE Sponsors to redirect the culture of the CE business to focus on quality;
  • Develop a recognition program for CE programs that meet high quality standards and receive positive feedback from CFP® professionals; and
  • Update CFP® professionals on the aggregate results of CFP Board’s CE programs audits.

The Board’s resolution is the latest development in CFP Board’s review of the CE requirements for CFP® certification. Last year, CFP Board staff and our Council on Education completed a comprehensive review of our CE requirements and developed several recommended revisions, which were released for public comment in August 2012. That public comment period generated a high level of response from CFP® professionals and our other stakeholders, and the core messages we heard from those comments were 1) the quantity of CE currently required is sufficient for continuing competency, and 2) CFP Board needs to take action to raise the quality of the CE programs available to CFP® professionals.

We appreciate the thoughtful and constructive feedback that many CFP® professionals, CE providers and others in the financial planning profession have provided during CFP Board’s intensive review of our CE standards and requirements. CE plays an important role in the CFP® certification requirements, as the continuing competency of CFP® professionals is an essential element to protecting the public and earning its trust.

CFP Board looks forward to working with our education partners, CFP® professionals and other stakeholders to achieve our goal of increasing the quality of CE by putting in place standards and review processes consistent with those which have proven effective in the established professions.

Looking for CE Programs Accepted by CFP Board?
More than 1,400 CE Sponsors have registered CE programs with CFP Board. Search for programs by topic or delivery method at www.CFP.net/FindCE.

Survey of CFP® Professionals Shows Continued High Satisfaction with CFP® Certification, Career Choice, CFP Board Activities

CFP® professionals continue to be very satisfied with their career choice as well as their decision to obtain the CFP® certification, as well as strong agreement with CFP Board’s priorities and initiatives, according to a new survey conducted by Fondulas Strategic Research. The survey results provide a picture of CFP® professionals’ perceptions of the value of their CFP® certification, its impact on their careers, and their views of CFP Board and the financial planning profession.

Highlights of the survey include:

  • 91 percent of respondents are very satisfied with their career choice in financial planning – a six point increase from the 2011 survey
  • 92 percent say they very satisfied with their decision to pursue CFP® certification
  • 91 percent say they would recommend the CFP® certification to other financial professionals
  • 97 percent agree with the statement that “financial planning should be a recognized profession”

“The CFP® certification is of great value to people’s careers, their employers and most importantly, their clients,” said Chief Executive Officer Kevin R. Keller, CAE. “The support of our nearly 69,000 CFP® professionals is important to CFP Board’s work, especially as we continue to strengthen our standards and ensure that the public seeks financial advice from competent and ethical financial planning professionals.”

The telephone survey of 803 CFP® professionals was conducted in late May and early June using a random sample of CFP® professionals. The sampling error is +/- 3.5 percent and has a 95 percent confidence level.

View the survey report >

Public Awareness Campaign Update

CFP Board’s public awareness campaign is increasing public awareness of CFP® professionals. The campaign includes print and online advertisements, as well as radio ads run on NPR, and a TV ad that has been broadcast on national television cable networks including AMC, CNN, ESPN, Fox News, HGTV, The History Channel, MSNBC and The Travel Channel. All of the advertisements direct people to our consumer website – www.letsmakeaplan.org – where they can learn more about the CFP® certification and look up a CFP® professional.

The results of an April 2013 brand tracking study demonstrate the first two years of the campaign have had a measurable and positive impact on awareness of and preference for CFP® professionals. The study found statistically significant percentage point increases in consumer awareness of CFP® certification amongst the campaign target, compared to the baseline study conducted in 2011 near the start of the campaign. Significantly, we have see signs of positive momentum in the unaided awareness levels for our Mass Affluent Initiator target, and also for mass affluent consumers in general. For our Mass Affluent Initiator target, the latest brand tracking study shows that top of mind or “first mention” awareness has increased by seven points since the start of the campaign and total unaided awareness by four points. All of the studies conducted to date show consistent and significant signs of positive momentum, across multiple measures and across multiple audiences.

The positive results we’ve seen are exceptional, given that the campaign is funded at a fraction of what the leading financial advertisers spend. The funding contributed to the public awareness campaign is dedicated to the direct expenses of the campaign and is not used to fund other CFP Board activities, and CFP Board is committed to being excellent stewards of these funds.

In July 2013, the Board of Directors reviewed the campaign’s progress to date and adopted a resolution authorizing the continuation of the campaign. The resolution made clear that the campaign must continue utilize sound research as the basis for marketing and media decisions, and that its execution must continue to reflect CFP Board’s neutral stance on business models and compensation structures.

Work is currently being done on validating the campaign messages and exploring some additional messages that appear to have great promise for increasing Mass Affluent Initiator interest in seeking out a CFP® professional. Based on the results of this testing, CFP Board will be introducing some brand new creative as part of the campaign in 2014. Specific plans for media buys are still underway for 2014, but you can expect to see many of the same placements across TV, radio, online, search and print as we have seen in recent years. When the 2014 media plan is finalized, you will be able to find a copy in the Public Awareness Campaign toolkit at www.CFP.net/toolkit.

CFP Board appreciates all of the CFP® professionals who have found opportunities to extend the campaign’s reach in their local communities through use of the toolkit resources. The toolkit includes including customizable advertisements, artwork for the CFP® marks and other resources that CFP® professionals can integrate with their advertising, websites and business materials.

When the campaign launched in 2011, we introduced a new “Plaque Design” CFP® mark logo. The latest research shows that consumer recognition of the new logo has more than doubled. We encourage CFP® professionals to consider using the new logo, which available in several different styles and file formats, on your email signature blocks, business cards and websites.


Using the CFP® mark logo is an easy first step to highlight your certified status and connect yourself to the images consumers are seeing through the campaign.

Download CFP® mark logos and other resources in CFP Board’s Public Awareness Campaign toolkit >

November Business Update Webinar Available for On Demand Viewing
CFP Board's latest Business Update Webinar was held on November 8, 2013, immediately following the most recent meeting of the Board of Directors. During this webinar, hosted by James E. Matol, CFP®, panelists Ray Ferrara, CFP®, 2013 Chair-Elect of CFP Board's Board of Directors, Richard Rojeck, CFP®, 2014 Chair-Elect, and Kevin R. Keller, CAE, CFP Board's CEO, shared the latest news on CFP Board's activities, including how our Public Awareness Campaign and “earned media” are working to increase awareness of CFP® professionals.

View the latest CFP Board Business Update Webinar >

CFP® Certification Examination Update

The latest administration of the CFP® Certification Examination was held across the country this past weekend, on November 15-16, 2013. Revisions to our testing partner contract implemented earlier this year will allow exam results will be released to examinees approximately 5 weeks after the exam dates – a full 3 weeks earlier than the 8-week scoring process previously in place. Weekly updates on the exam scoring process are posted at www.CFP.net/examupdate.

The first CFP® Exam administration of 2014 will take place March 21-22, 2014. Encourage your qualified colleagues to register online by the registration deadline of February 11, 2014, at www.CFP.net/exam.

Recorded Webinars Demystify Exam & Experience Requirements
In October, CFP Board held two webinars designed to assist future CFP® professionals in understanding and successfully completing the Exam and Experience requirements for initial CFP® certification. The webinars are now available for on demand viewing, and are great resources for individuals interested in pursuing CFP® certification, or for CFP® professionals who want to understand the current certification requirements.

CFP Board Disciplinary Actions

CFP Board recently announced public disciplinary actions against 19 individuals. Public disciplinary actions taken by CFP Board, in order of decreasing severity, include permanent revocation of an individual's right to use the CFP® certification marks, suspension of the right to use the CFP® certification marks for up to five years, and letters of admonition. The basis for each decision can be found in a Disciplinary Action Report on CFP Board’s website, and the public may check on an individual’s disciplinary history and certification status with CFP Board at www.CFP.net/verify.

California William Scott Bray Monterey Administrative Revocation
California Linda S. Cornish Santa Clara Revocation
California Leonard I. Heller, CFP® San Ramon Letter of Admonition
Colorado Scott B. Nelson Lone Tree Suspension
Georgia Darold C. Brooks, CFP® Marietta Letter of Admonition
Iowa Dwight W. Moats Cherokee Suspension
Iowa John S. Tuve, CFP® Waterloo Letter of Admonition
Maryland Lisa Herman Bethesda Suspension
Michigan Christopher T. Reid Rochester Hills Suspension
Minnesota Greg M. Ferguson, CFP® Edina Letter of Admonition
Missouri James W. Smith Creve Coeur Administrative Revocation
Nevada Michael D. Bayliss Carson City Suspension
New Jersey Robert J. Richards, CFP® Toms River Letter of Admonition
North Carolina Ryan R. Poterack Charlotte Suspension
North Carolina Robert W. Volpe, CFP® Holly Springs Letter of Admonition
Pennsylvania Anthony Diaz Scotrun Suspension
Rhode Island John A. Licciardello Providence Interim Suspension
Texas Gilbert J. Baker Houston Suspension
Virginia Jacqueline Hanson, CFP® Leesberg Letter of Admonition

Read the full news release announcing these disciplinary actions >

CFP Board Discloses Bankruptcies by CFP® Professionals

CFP Board recently disclosed the names of 42 CFP® professionals who have declared bankruptcy within the last five years and, under rules that took effect July 1, 2012, are not subject to disciplinary procedures but will have their bankruptcy disclosed.

The latest disclosure of bankruptcy filings by CFP® professionals covers the second and third quarters of 2013 and is made pursuant to CFP Board’s rules regarding single-bankruptcy cases.  CFP Board does not investigate, and the Disciplinary and Ethics Commission does not adjudicate, bankruptcy-only cases. Rather, CFP Board verifies the bankruptcy and notes the bankruptcy filing on the CFP® professional’s public profile, which is available through the search functions on CFP Board’s website. CFP Board will also share with consumers and other stakeholders who contact CFP Board regarding a CFP® professional’s certification status the information in the CFP® professional’s public profile, including identifying whether the CFP® professional has filed bankruptcy. All disclosures regarding a bankruptcy filed by a CFP® professional will remain on CFP Board’s website for 10 years from the earlier of the date the CFP® professional disclosed the bankruptcy to CFP Board or the date CFP Board became aware of the bankruptcy.

Read the full news release disclosing bankruptcy filings by CFP® professionals >

“Let’s Talk Planning” Blog: Raising Financially Responsible Kids

“When it comes to acquiring money smarts, our kids are being short-changed,” says CFP Board’s Consumer Advocate, Eleanor Blayney, CFP®, in the latest installment of the “Let’s Talk Planning” blog.

“Lessons about financial responsibility must begin in the home,” says Blayney. So what steps can parents take to raise a child with good financial sense? Blayney suggests:

  • Looking for opportunities in your day to turn routine money transactions into teachable moments for your kids;
  • Getting your kids involved in household money management;
  • Making money lessons fun and purposeful; and
  • Stressing the fundamentals.

Visit the blog for timely topics you can share or discuss with your clients and potential clients.
Subscribe to the blog to receive notifications when new posts are added.

CFP Board in the News

CFP Board and the CFP® certification have been featured prominently by national media in recent weeks, including stories from The Wall Street Journal and San Francisco Chronicle, and video from CFP Board’s participation in Washington Post Live's recent "2013 Caregiving in America" forum. Read these and other notable media references to CFP Board and the CFP® certification >

CFP Board Online Store: Purchase Holiday Gifts for CFP® Professionals

Need holiday business gift ideas?

Check out the latest CFP® marks-branded apparel, pen sets, coffee tumblers and other desk accessories at CFP Board’s online store.



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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.