All CFP certificants who provide financial planning services would be required to provide clients with the "care of a fiduciary" under a second revision of the CFP Board of Standards ethics code released today.

   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 draft proposal released today was a revision of a controversial first draft, released in July, that would have allowed CFP certificants to "opt out" of the fiduciary standard so long as they defined their relationship with clients in writing.

   Many CFP certificants, as well as financial planning organizations such as the Financial Planning Association (FPA) and National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA), objected to the idea of an optional fiduciary standard and pressed for a stricter code.

   Karen P. Schaeffer, chairwoman of the CFP Board's board of directors, said the second draft was produced after considering the board considered more than 300 comments that were submitted after the release of the first draft in July.

   "You gave us comment and we took all of it under advisement," she said during a presentation in Denver this morning where the second draft was released.

   When contacted earlier today, Daniel Moisand, chairman of the FPA, said he had not yet reviewed the new draft, but was pleased with the way the CFP Board has proceeded since the first draft was released.

   "They put a lot of effort into changing the process and making it more open and transparent," he said.

   Schaeffer said the CFP Board will be taking public comments on the second draft for a 45-day period ending April 25. The board will also take comments at a public hearing scheduled for March 30 in Denver. If approved, the ethics code changes would take effect in 2008.

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