Professional designation programs for financial planners continue to expand year by year – as some disappear, others (more?) emerge to take their place. And although many are appropriately critical of some designations in particular, the trend begs the question: is an expanding number of professional designation programs good news, or bad?
Earlier in the week, this blog posed a number of questions to the CFP Board in response to the Fact Sheet that the organization had issued, seeking to address a number of issues the planning community has raised that still appeared to be unanswered. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to speak with several staff members at the CFP Board, and wanted to share the information that I received.
As debate – and some confusion – continues regarding the CFP Board’s proposed fee increase, the organization has made a new fact sheet available to help address many of the questions and concerns that have been raised. However, it seems that a few of the pressing questions from the planning community are not entirely answered.
Many planners report that the primary reason their clients choose to work with them is a foundation of trust built with that individual client, which subsequently blossoms forth into a bona fide planner-client relationship. Accordingly, many planners have recently begun to ask: why the CFP Board fee increase to support public awareness of the CFP marks, if that’s not how clients select their planners anyway?
As discussion and debate rages on regarding the CFP Board’s proposed 80% fee increase, and the associated public awareness campaign it is intended to support, much of the underlying concern seems to boil down to a simple issue: Is the CFP Board “our” champion? Should it be? Can it be?
If you’ve been watching your email lately, you may have noticed that the CFP Board has been soliciting your input about a potential public awareness campaign to support the visibility of the CFP certification marks for the general public. Well, apparently the input has been gathered, and board is considering its next step – an 80% increase in the annual cost to maintain your CFP designation to help fund the new campaign.
Financial planning has long witnessed an unfortunate “gap” between practitioners and academia. As the stereotype goes, the practitioner community to too focused on strategies, techniques, and application, while the academic community spends too much of its time on research that is too basic or too abstract. Well, at the Academy of Financial Services meeting held in conjunction with the FPA’s annual convention, that gap appears to be narrowing, quickly.
As George Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” but fortunately we don’t need to remember the past ourselves, at least when it comes to financial planning. E. Denby Brandon, Jr., and H. Oliver Welch, have done it for us in their new book “The History of Financial Planning: The Transformation of Financial Services.”
In a message board thread on financial-planning.com, initiated by Harold Evensky, there is an interesting discussion of the fact that apparently State Farm has directed all of their agents to voluntarily relinquish their CFP marks. It appears that an overarching fiduciary standard is “not conductive to [their] business model.”
After nearly a decade of ongoing complaints about the poor communication with respect to the CFP Board and changes/initiatives that it launches, it appears the organization, under the guidance of its “new” CEO Kevin Keller, has turned over a new leaf for 2009. Or at least, it’s off to a good start.