Staring next spring, anyone holding one of the six professional designations conferred by the College for Financial Planning (CFFP) must go through a renewal process that includes continuing education, following new ethical standards, and paying a renewal fee every two years.

Founded in 1972 and based in Greenwood Village, Colo., CFFP provides continuing professional education programs and professional designation programs in various financial disciplines. It confers the following designations: registered paraplanner (RP); accredited wealth management advisor (AWMA), accredited asset management specialist (AAMS); chartered mutual fund counselor (CMFC); chartered retirement planning counselor (CRPC); and chartered retirement plans specialist (CRPS).

As part of CFFP's new requirements, professionals using its designations will have to complete 16 hours of continuing education every two years and adhere to updated ethical standards devised by CFFP. The education component isn't limited to a specific list of providers, and in many cases the requirement can be met by courses provided by financial firms.

According to CFFP, the changes are a proactive step to both stay ahead of shifting regulations in the financial planning industry and to bolster the credibility of its designations.

The changes don't apply to the certified financial planner designation, which was introduced by CFFP in 1972 but whose ownership rights were transferred in the 1980s to the predecessor of the current CFP Board of Standards, which currently administers the marks. CFFP is one of about 200 educational providers registered with the CFP Board to provide courses to enable people to sit for the CFP exam.