Eleanor Blayney, CFP, is developing her new role as consumer advocate for the CFP Board of Standards Inc. at a time when she says it is most needed by both consumers and financial advisors.

"The consumer advocate position will heighten the energy and elevate the commitment of the board to helping consumers," says Blayney, formerly a planner with Sullivan, Bruyette, Speros and Blayney Inc. which was recently sold to Harris Bank. "In these tough, dark times it is especially important to get our message out there about our mission, which is to educate the consumer that there is such a thing as financial planning and show them what the value of professional advice is."

The CFP Board in the past has reached out to consumers through its Web site and through clinics in different areas of the country, but "this puts a face on it," Blayney says.

The position of consumer advocate, which grew out of talks that started more than a year ago, was created at the beginning of this year.

"My appointment coincided with the deepening recession and the aftermath of the Ponzi schemes and fraud. We are having a real crisis of confidence," she explains. "Now more than ever, consumers need to know what questions they should ask financial advisors. In addition, if we are going to make the profession more transparent, consumers need to know what they are looking for through that transparent window.

"I think it is wonderful our profession is looking at these issues so passionately and so seriously," she concludes.