Directors of CFP Board Set Enforcement Date for New Code and Standards
Revised rules – including enhanced fiduciary standard – remain the same
The Board of Directors of the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards announced today that it has set a date of June 30, 2020 when CFP® professionals’ compliance with the new Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct will be enforced.
The previously announced effective date of October 1, 2019 remains the same for CFP® professionals to understand and comply with the new rules. In setting a targeted enforcement date, the Board of Directors is providing CFP® professionals additional time before compliance is enforced with the new Code and Standards.
“In order to best benefit the public, the Board wants CFP® professionals to have time to adjust to the new Code and Standards. By setting this enforcement date, we are ensuring they have ample time to modify their policies, adapt systems and be in alignment with the new rules,” said Board Chair Susan John, CFP®. “With these new standards, CFP® professionals will be required to provide clients with fiduciary financial advice at all times.”
John specifically noted that none of the Code and Standards themselves had changed. This includes, what she called, the “ironclad” commitment of CFP Board to require CFP® professionals – no matter their compensation method – to adhere to a fiduciary duty whenever delivering financial advice.
“Since the beginning of the nearly four-year process to review our standards, we said that CFP Board would not be led by what actions regulators take. But we won’t ignore them either,” John said.
“The Board, however, does believe that the alignment of the SEC’s enforcement date of Regulation Best Interest (Reg BI) is helpful to our CFP® professionals in that there is significant overlap in the two sets of standards – with a notable exception that CFP® professionals are required to act as a fiduciary whenever they are providing financial advice to clients.”
For conduct that occurs between October 1, 2019 and June 29, 2020, CFP Board will continue to enforce violations of the existing Standards of Professional Conduct. Starting June 30, 2020 and onward, CFP® professionals will then be subject to potential disciplinary action for any violations of the new Code and Standards.
CFP Board will focus its efforts on educating and working with CFP® professionals to help them better understand and comply with the new Code and Standards. Already, CFP Board has held dozens of public forums, met with firms and developed a suite of guidance materials that can be found on www.CFP.net/code. The non-profit professional certifying body will continue developing these materials with the assistance of its Standards Resource Commission as well as hold meetings with firms large and small as well as CFP® professionals themselves.
It is during this phase that CFP Board will also continue to implement the new Code and Standards. For example, the educational material for the ethics CE requirement is focused on the new standards. Additionally, the exam starting with November 2019 exam will include material from the new Code and Standards.
“We appreciate the valuable input of CFP® professionals, their firms, trade associations and membership organizations representing CFP® professionals in helping the Board come to this decision,” John said. “It is now time for all of us to pull together and comply with the new standards so that we can provide the public with the highest level of financial advice.”
Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. is the professional body for personal financial planners in the U.S. CFP Board sets standards for financial planning and administers the prestigious CFP® certification – one of the most respected certifications in financial services – so that the public has access to and benefits from competent and ethical financial planning. CFP Board, along with its Center for Financial Planning, is committed to increasing the public’s awareness of CFP® certification and access to a diverse, ethical and competent financial planning workforce. Widely recognized by firms and consumer groups as the standard for financial planning, CFP® certification is held by more than 83,000 people in the United States.