The second draft of the revised CFP ethics code has won
the support of the Financial Planning Association, which was one of the
chief foes of the original revision.
FPA President Nicholas Nicolette said the organization supports the new revision because it applies a uniform fiduciary standard on CFP certificants.
The first draft, which drew fierce opposition when it was introduced in July 2006, had provided certificants with an "opt out" to the fiduciary standard.
"Under these latest proposed standards, a CFP certificant shall at all times place the interest of the client ahead of his or her own," Nicolette said. "In proposing such a standard, we commend CFP Board for listening to FPA members and others who have expressed serious concern with the board's original exposure draft of ethics changes."
The second draft was released by the CFP Board last week in hopes of wrapping up a review of the board's ethics code and practice standards that began in 2005. The new rules effect about 54,000 advisors who hold the CFP certificate.
Under the second rewrite, all CFP certificants who provide financial planning services would be required to provide clients with the "care of a fiduciary."
The CFP Board also raised the professional standard for all CFP certificants-including those who do not provide financial planning services. The new rules would require that all CFP professionals "shall at all times place the interest of the client ahead of his or her own."
This is stricter than the current baseline standard for CFP certificants, which requires they provide "reasonable and prudent professional judgment."
The CFP Board of Standards is taking public comments on the new proposal until April 25. The board will also take comments at a March 30 public hearing in Denver.
Nicolette said the FPA will submit comments on the proposal. He noted there are still some issues the organization is scrutinizing, including the conditions under which CFPs will have to meet the fiduciary standard.
Under the new rules proposal, a certificant will be held to the fiduciary standard if they provide "material elements of the financial planning process."
The CFP Board's proposal comes at a time when a FPA Fiduciary Task Force is wrapping up its examination of the fiduciary responsibilities tied to financial planning, according to the FPA.
"We believe CFP Board's proposal is generally in alignment with the work of our task force and its endorsement by the FPA Board," said Nicolette.