SEC Request for Comments on Improving Disclosures to Investors
On March 23, 2012, CFP Board submitted a comment letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") in response to its request for comment regarding methods to improve disclosures to investors. CFP Board urged the SEC to develop a set of improved pre-engagement disclosure requirements, similar to those in place for investment advisers under SEC's Form ADV Part 2 brochure and for CFP® professionals under CFP Board's Standards of Professional Conduct. Specifically, CFP Board urged the SEC to improve disclosure requirements in four areas: 1) conflicts of interests (including a financial intermediary's standard of care); 2) fees and costs, 3) background of the financial intermediary; and 4) scope of representation. CFP Board proposed that the recommended disclosures be made prior to the engagement of a financial intermediary, be written in plain English, and be provided in writing. CFP Board noted that, while timely and effective disclosures are important in advancing the education and protection of investors, full protection also requires that investment advice be provided under a uniform fiduciary standard of conduct.