• Undisclosed conflicts of interest, including the use of investment advisors for asset allocations based on their payments to the broker-dealer rather than their ability to provide service.

Board Of Standards Increases CFP Certification Fee

The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards is increasing its CFP certification fee, while expanding the number of educational institutions offering registered financial planning programs.

The CFP Board announced that starting January 1, 2005, the two-year CFP certification fee will be raised from $300 to $360. The CFP Board said the 20% increase was needed to keep up with inflation.

The board notes that the fee has gone unchanged since 1996, when it was established. In terms of purchasing power, $300 in 1996 is equivalent to about $354 today, says the CFP Board, citing U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics figures.

"The certification has continued to gain significant momentum in recognition and importance with consumers and within the profession," says David Diesslin, chairman of the CFP Board‚s Board of Governors. "The adjustment is a fiscally responsible one that will enable CFP Board to maintain its high level of service and benefit to the public and other stakeholders."

The CFP Board also announced that it has registered 12 new financial planning education programs, bringing the national total to 31. Students who successfully complete a program registered by the board are eligible to sit for the CFP certification exam.

The new programs are at Alfred State College in Alfred, N.Y.; Appalachian State University, Boone, N.C.; Auburn University, Mont-gomery, Ala.; Augusta State University, Augusta, Ga.; Keiser College, Sarasota, Fla.; Northeastern State University, Tahlequah, Okla.; Salem State College, Salem, Wash.; the University of California, Los Angeles; and the University of Idaho, Moscow.

Technology Continues To Frustrate Advisors, FPA Study Says

Computers and the Internet have made many chores easier for advisors and their clients, but high technology continues to have its own set of frustrations. That was the sentiment revealed in a recent survey of advisors, who seem to be still waiting for the "holy grail" of computerized solutions for their practices.

Topping the list of advisor frustrations, according to the survey, was the difficulty in integrating client information from a myriad of sources. This was closely followed by what they feel is an inability to get different sets of software tools to work in unison.

The study, conducted by the Pyramid research firm in Forest Hills, N.Y., was released by the Financial Planning Association (FPA) with the help of several sponsoring financial service companies. The report summarizes the online survey responses of 986 financial planners.

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