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CFP Board

February 20, 2014

In This Issue:

We’ve Moved: CFP Board’s New Mailing Address

CFP Board has moved to a new suite. Our offices are now located on the 8th floor of 1425 K Street NW in Washington, DC. Please update our mailing address in your records, as follows:

CFP Board
1425 K Street NW #800
Washington, DC 20005

No changes have been made to our phone numbers, email addresses or other contact information.

Chair’s Message: CFP Board’s Goals for Awareness, Growth, Recognition/Regulation & Authority

Last week, we had the pleasure of meeting with many CFP® professionals during a series of CFP® Certificant Connection meetings in four Florida cities. These events give us an opportunity to share updates on CFP Board’s work and, more importantly, have an open conversation and listen to what’s important to the CFP® professional community. During last week’s events, Kevin Keller and I shared updates on CFP Board’s strategic plan, which is focused on four overarching outcomes that support our mission:

  1. Awareness, the first of these outcomes, is focused largely on the public’s awareness of CFP® certification and the value of working with CFP® professionals. We have already made significant progress in growing public awareness as a result of our Public Awareness Campaign’s integrated strategy of paid advertising and earned media. We expect to see additional gains as a result of the campaign’s latest phase, with the new advertisements released earlier this month. The new phase emphasizes the CFP® mark as the “highest standard.” We are also working to generate increased awareness of the importance of CFP® certification within the financial services industry, as well as among policymakers and thought leaders.

  2. Our second overarching outcome is Growth. The number of CFP® professionals has increased steadily over the years, and quite simply, we need more to serve the needs of the American public. As we work to increase the public’s awareness of CFP® certification, we expect to see greater numbers of people seeking out CFP® professionals. And we know that a significant number of CFP® professionals are planning to retire in the near future. We are encouraging growth through a variety of initiatives, including working with our academic partners to increase enrollment and student retention, encouraging financial services firms to institutionalize the CFP® certification in their hiring and training programs, and exploring the challenges women face when becoming certified and beginning a career in financial planning, so we can identify solutions.

  3. Recognition & Regulation, our third overarching outcome, relates to our long-term goal of establishing financial planning as a recognized and regulated profession. Given the important role the CFP® certification holds for our profession, our work toward increasing awareness of CFP® certification and growing the number of CFP® professionals will contribute toward greater recognition. Regulation is a key component of a true profession and uniform regulation of financial planners is needed to protect consumers of financial services. We will continue to work toward this goal collaboratively with the organizations and individuals who make up our developing profession.

  4. The last of our four overarching outcomes is Authority, which relates to a number of opportunities before us to advance financial planning as a rigorous discipline. Last year, we released CFP Board’s Financial Planning Competency Handbook, which represents a significant contribution to the body of knowledge for the financial planning profession, bridging theory and practice. This year, we will explore additional ways CFP Board can help bring together research and practice in ways relevant to educators, professionals and even the public. We will also be implementing important steps from our five-year quality improvement initiative to improve the quality of continuing education available to CFP® professionals.

Individually and as a group, these four overarching outcomes highlight key aspects of our core operational objectives and give us a clear focus for the organization’s work in the coming years. They also set some very ambitious goals before us.

During our Connection meetings, we were asked about the shorter length of the computer-based CFP® exam format, which rolls out this November, and whether that made it easier to get the CFP® certification. The answer is no. As we explored whether the CFP® exam could be transitioned successfully to a computer-based format, we sought the advice of very qualified statisticians and test makers, and we have confidence that for our new exam format, shorter is not less rigorous. We understand the importance of upholding the rigor of the CFP® certification. I would point out that in the past few years, we have made it more difficult obtain the CFP® certification by requiring both a college degree and successful completion of a capstone course.

It is an honor to serve as Chair of CFP Board’s Board of Directors this year, and I look forward to the progress we will make toward achieving our ambitious agenda. We will undoubtedly face challenges as we move toward our goals. I want to assure you that CFP Board’s leadership welcomes open dialogue and values the passion and the wealth of ideas that exist in our profession. CFP Board’s mission is more relevant today than ever before, and as a community of professionals, we can continue the great progress that many CFP® professionals and others have made toward establishing CFP® certification as the highest standard for financial planning. In short, this is not your grandfather’s CFP Board.

Ray Ferrara, CFP®
2014 Chair
Board of Directors

New Public Awareness Campaign Ads: Ask for CFP® Certification, the “Highest Standard” for Financial Planning Advice

The latest phase of CFP Board’s ongoing Public Awareness Campaign recently launched with new advertisements that urge consumers to look for CFP® certification, the “highest standard” for financial planning advice.

“Consumers often don’t know where to go or who to trust with their finances,” said CFP Board’s Board of Directors Chair Ray Ferrara, CFP®. “We want the public to know that when it comes to financial advice, CFP® certification is the highest standard – and something they should look for.”

The creative concept behind the advertising, which comes from Arnold Worldwide, Inc., shows how the CFP® certification makes a difference when it comes to choosing a financial advisor. The advertising features consumers accepting financial advice from an individual who appears and acts like a financial advisor, yet has no qualifications to provide financial advice. “If they’re not a CFP® pro, you just don’t know,” a new television ad states, urging consumers to visit LetsMakeaPlan.org to seek out the highest standard and find a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional who is thoroughly vetted.

The new advertising, marketing and public relations campaign includes a mix of television, print and online advertising appearing in national outlets, as well as sponsorship messages on National Public Radio. This is the latest execution of a campaign that has already generated significant increases in consumers’ awareness of CFP® certification and the value of working with CFP® professionals. Last July, after reviewing its initial progress and successes, CFP Board’s Board of Directors authorized the continuation of the campaign.


CFP® professionals have access to the new print ads, television spot and banner ads as well as other resources that they can use to create awareness of the CFP® certification in the Public Awareness Campaign toolkit available at www.CFP.net/toolkit.

Recorded Webinar: New Public Awareness Campaign Advertisements

Get an inside look at the CFP Board’s Public Awareness Campaign to increase awareness of CFP® certification and the value of working with CFP® professionals, featuring new TV, print and online advertisements that will be used as part of the campaign in 2014.

View the Recorded Webinar >

TD Ameritrade Institutional and Ameriprise Financial to Support CFP Board Women’s Initiative

CFP Board is pleased to announce that TD Ameritrade Institutional and Ameriprise Financial are sponsoring a research initiative that will provide information to support our Women’s Initiative to increase the number of women who enter the financial planning profession and obtain CFP® certification.

“This is an exciting collaboration among three organizations that care deeply about the future of the CFP® certification, women in the financial planning profession and increasing the number of advisors to help Americans achieve their financial goals,” said Nancy Kistner, CFP®, Chair of CFP Board’s Women’s Initiative Advisory Panel and former Chair of CFP Board’s Board of Directors.

Ameriprise and TD Ameritrade’s support of CFP Board’s Women’s Initiative, which began last year, will help bolster the number of women CFP® professionals, which now stands at 23 percent of all CFP® professionals – a number that hasn’t budged for more than a decade.

CFP Board is currently conducting research addressing the root causes of why more women aren’t choosing financial planning as a career and earning the CFP® certification. The research will be used by CFP Board’s Women’s Initiative Advisory Panel to provide recommendations on growing the number of women earning the certification. Results of the research, along with the Advisory Panel’s recommendations, are expected to be released later this spring.

The financial sponsorship will assist CFP Board in completing and promoting the research and recommendations through a white paper and communications initiatives planned for 2014.

Elda Macias, Vice President, Retirement & Segment Marketing with Ameriprise will join the Advisory Panel. TD Ameritrade’s Kate Healy, Managing Director for Institutional Marketing, currently serves on the panel.

“We are dedicated to increasing the number of women who want to enter the financial services industry and choose financial planning as a career,” said Macias. “We expect the results of this study will bolster the strong initiatives we have in place and help us increase the ranks of the nearly 2,000 women advisors who are already at Ameriprise.”

“As a longtime advocate for women advisors, TD Ameritrade Institutional is focused on creating more opportunities for women to enter the growing field of financial planning,” said Healy. “We look forward to joining the CFP Board in the effort to cultivate current and future generations of women leaders.

Fidelity Dean’s Day Event Highlights Partnerships Between Businesses and Academic Programs

CFP Board partnered with Fidelity to host a “Dean's Day” event in Boston on February 11-12, 2014. The event brought faculty and deans from 15 CFP Board-Registered Programs together with leaders from Fidelity and CFP Board. Discussions focused on the ways Fidelity, CFP Board-Registered Programs and CFP Board can work together to assist with hiring new talent, supporting registered programs, and encouraging students to complete their financial planning education and pursue CFP® certification. Participants viewed this meeting as a first step in developing collaborative efforts that will both fulfill the needs of academia and practice, as well as encourage graduates to complete CFP® certification.

Kevin R. Keller, CFP Board’s CEO, urged attendees to consider the roles they play with inducting professionals into the financial planning profession. He encouraged partnerships between financial planning businesses and CFP Board-Registered Programs to support the next generation of financial planners and encourage them to consider CFP® certification as an important part of their career development.

CFP Board Participating in America Saves Week, February 24 - March 1

CFP Board is pleased to be participating in America Saves Week, an annual initiative coordinated by America Saves and the American Savings Education Council, involving hundreds of national, regional, and statewide groups, which promotes good savings behavior and a chance for individuals to assess their own saving status and “Set a Goal. Make a Plan. Save Automatically.”

In support of this important initiative, CFP Board's Consumer Advocate, Eleanor Blayney, CFP® and 11 of our CFP Board Ambassadors will be discussing the importance of saving and making a financial plan in a radio media tour featuring on-air interviews across national, regional, state networks and in top market stations.  Nearly 30 live and taped interviews will be conducted on February 24 and are expected to air throughout America Saves Week.

More than 60 local America Saves campaigns across the country are hosting savings-focused initiatives and events to celebrate America Saves Week.  Find information about campaign events in your area >

Court tells IRS “No” on Regulating Tax Preparers

On February 11, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia reaffirmed a lower court decision in determining that the Internal Revenue Service exceeded its authority in implementing a system to regulate tax return preparers (Loving v. IRS, D.C. Cir., No. 13-05061, 2/11/14).

In 2011, the IRS began to require individuals who prepare and file tax returns in exchange for compensation to register with the IRS, pay annual fees, obtain a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN), and complete competency examinations and continuing education requirements focused on demonstrating knowledge of the federal tax code and ethics standards. The Department of Treasury (which has jurisdiction over the IRS) based its authority for taking these actions on its reading of 31 U.S.C. §330 which grants Treasury the authority to “regulate the practice of representatives of persons before the Department of Treasury”.

The Court disagreed with Treasury on two counts: 1) it ruled that tax preparers are not “representatives” of taxpayers and have no legal authority to represent a taxpayer’s interests before Treasury or the IRS; and 2) it determined that the term “practice” when used to describe activities usually conducted by those who represent parties before the Department of Treasury usually applies to an investigation or an adversarial or adjudicative hearing. Preparing a tax return does not rise to this level of activity. [The Loving case applies to tax return preparers who are not Enrolled Agents (EAs). EAs are certified and regulated by the IRS and do act as representatives of taxpayers.]

The decision of the Court of Appeals does not halt IRS activities to require all compensated tax preparers to obtain a PTIN, which the Court affirmed is within IRS jurisdiction under 31 U.S.C. §330. But the IRS must cease activities in assessing annual fees, administering competency examinations, and conducting continuing education. The IRS has not publicly discussed how it will proceed in light of the court’s decision, but recent comments from IRS officials indicate that it may now approach Congress in hopes of initiating federal legislation to put a preparer regulation scheme in place.

Associations representing tax preparers and some consumer groups are also expected to be active in developing their own regulation guidelines to present to Congress. CFP Board provided the IRS with feedback and recommendations when the tax preparer registration issue first arose, including our proposal that they exempt CFP® professionals from the regulation requirements. We will continue to monitor developments in the coming months to determine whether to approach Congress with the same proposal.

CFP Board Disciplinary Actions

CFP Board recently announced public disciplinary actions against 15 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 Robert R. Liggero, CFP® Atlantic Beach Letter of Admonition
California R. Steven Wilkinson Oakland Revocation
Connecticut Noah L. Myers Lyme Revocation
Georgia Wesley C. Brumfield, CFP® Alpharetta Letter of Admonition
Illinois Dan Glick Orland Park Revocation
Illinois Joel Robert Heffington Hinsdale Suspension
Iowa Chris B. Steele West Des Moines Suspension
Maine R. Kenneth Lindell, CFP® Bangor Letter of Admonition
Minnesota Barbara J. Stark Eden Prairie Interim Suspension
New Jersey Dennis Lerner Edgewater Suspension
New York Bryan Mackey, CFP® Buffalo Letter of Admonition
Oregon Jeffery O. Briggs, CFP® Bend Letter of Admonition
Pennsylvania Robert C. Wheeling Lititz Revocation
Texas Travis Hughes, CFP® El Paso Letter of Admonition
Virginia Jeffrey S. Geraci Virginia Beach Suspension

Read the full news release announcing these disciplinary actions >

“Let’s Talk Planning” Blog: Financial Planning Lessons from “Groundhog Day”

A recent “Let’s Talk Planning” blog post by CFP Board Consumer Advocate Eleanor Blayney, CFP® addressed a phenomenon experienced by many people, whereby they suffer the same negative financial consequences over and over again. “When it comes to our own financial dead-ends or dysfunction, change often takes admitting we can’t do it alone,” writes Blayney. “Enlist the support of a CFP® professional to help move you forward financially.”

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

In recent weeks, the financial services trade press has featured interviews with the Chair of CFP Board’s Board of Directors, and the consumer press has featured stories with tips on money issues for couples by CFP Board’s Consumer Advocate. Read these and other notable articles >

Upcoming Events

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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.