CFP Board Reviews Challenge Status

The CFP Board of Standards is considering phasing out a rule that makes it easier for lawyers, accountants and other financial professionals to sit for the CFP certification exam.

Under review is the "challenge status," a provision that allows the waiver of CFP education requirements for test takers who have fulfilled the spirit of the requirements in other types of programs.

The rule allows attorneys, accountants and certain other degree and certificate holders to sit for a CFP exam without having to take a lengthy list of CFP-registered education courses.

If the challenge status is eliminated, as the CFP Board is considering, all CFP candidates will have to pass certain CFP-registered courses regardless of their prior education. "The intent down the road is to get rid of the challenge status," says CFP Board spokesman Lance Ritchlin. "It‚s just a natural evolution for the profession and the certification."

While existing CFP licensees might applaud the move, such a decision might discourage other professionals from obtaining the CFP mark. That could run counter to the CFP Board‚s goal of trying to make the mark as broadly accepted as possible.

The review is part of an overall effort by the CFP Board and its CEO, Lou Garday, to elevate the financial planner to "professional" status. The board took a step toward that goal last year by announcing it will require all CFP candidates to have a bachelor‚s degree as of 2007.

In addition to the review of the challenge status, Garday outlined additional initiatives in the field of education:

• Development of more Ph.D. programs in financial planning. Texas Tech University is the only institution with such a program that is registered by the CFP.

• Promotion of financial planning as a career to students at the high school and college levels.