Many people call themselves “financial planners” but lack the credentials and standards of CFP® Professionals. One key differentiator between the two is the certified designation. A CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional or CFP® professional is held to high educational, ethical, and fiduciary standards that require them to act in a client’s best interests at all times. The CFP Board spent two years developing a new Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct that took effect October 1, 2019.
I. The Code of Ethics states that a CFP® professional must:
Act with honesty, integrity, competence, and diligence.
Act in the client’s best interests.
Exercise due care.
Avoid or disclose and manage conflicts of interest.
Maintain the confidentiality and protect the privacy of client information.
Act in a manner that reflects positively on the financial planning profession and CFP® certification.
II. The Standards of Conduct state that a CFP® professional must:
Act as a fiduciary at all times when providing advice.
Comply with all objectives, policies, restrictions, and lawful directions of the client.
Provide competent professional services by maintaining the relevant knowledge and skill to apply that knowledge.
Treat clients, prospective clients, fellow professionals, and others with dignity, courtesy, and respect.
Comply with the law.
Comply with practice standards for the financial planning process.
Anyone seeking to become a CFP® practitioner must submit to a background check and meet the CFP Board standards. Once attaining certification, any violation of ethical and/or practice standards may lead to disciplinary action or even revocation of certification. Education, experience, and exam requirements ensure that everyone using the CFP® mark has the expertise necessary to deliver on the standards set forth by the CFP Board.
I am currently taking the 6th course, Estate Planning, through Boston University’s Financial Planning Program. I have already completed Introduction to Financial Planning, Risk Management & Insurance Planning, Investments, Tax Planning, and Retirement Planning & Employee Benefits. After Estate Planning, I will take the Financial Planning Capstone course which integrates the knowledge from the previous 6 courses into a comprehensive financial plan. This will complete my accredited education requirement. In May, I will also complete the 6,000 hours experience requirement to take the CFP® Certification Exam. I look forward to joining Susan & John as a 3rd CFP® professional on your SWM team.