The CFP Board of Standards said it will not table its proposed best-interest code of standards in the face of mounting pressure from eight broker-dealers and their associations. The brokers are asking the board to wait for the Securities and Exchange Commission to propose its own standards.

“The CFP Board’s work is informed by the regulatory environment, but its standards-setting process is not driven by potential regulatory action,” wrote the CFP Board’s general counsel, Leo Rydzewski, in an e-mail to Financial Advisor.

“Moreover, CFP Board cannot predict whether or when the SEC will act, or what the SEC will do. Should the SEC take action, CFP Board will evaluate what, if anything, should be done at that time,” Rydzewski said.

As a non-profit organization that exists to benefit the public, the group has an independent obligation to set high standards for CFP professionals, he added.

The board is expected to review and approve its proposed Code of Standards by the second quarter of the year and make the code effective for its 80,000 CFPs by January 1, 2019. The SEC has yet to propose fiduciary or best-interest standards, but has indicated it expects to release a proposal in the second quarter of 2018.

The revision to the CFP Board’s code is the first in a decade and significantly broadens CFP certificate holders’ fiduciary responsibility to put investors’ best interests first when delivering financial advice.

Planning associations including the Financial Planning Association and the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors both said they want the CFP Board to proceed with the new code of standards and not wait for the SEC to take action.

The eight broker-dealers that want the CFP Board to delay its standards are Ameriprise Financial Services, AXA Advisors, Edward Jones, LPL Financial, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, RBC Wealth Management US, UBS Financial and Wells Fargo Advisors. These companies account for 18,200 of the 80,000 CFPs the proposed code would impact.

The brokerage associations that represent the eight firms, the Financial Services Institute and SIFMA, also asked the CFP Board for a delay. Both organizations are plaintiffs in a lawsuit pending in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in Dallas that would force the U.S. Department of Labor to rescind its fiduciary standards for qualified retirement accounts.

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