The Financial Planning Coalition is pushing for a law that would require anyone calling themselves a financial planner to meet certain ethical and educational standards and to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The standards would be set by a public oversight board that would be funded by small registration fees paid by the financial planners, said Robert Glovsky, chair of the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards during a conference call today. The CFP Board, as well as the Financial Planning Association and the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors make up the coalition.

The coalition is urging the U.S. Senate Banking Committee to include provisions in the Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010 its now considering. Senator Herb Kohl, D-Wisc., wants to propose an amendment to the act that would require financial advisors to be SEC registered and meet competency and ethical requirements, the coalition said today.

The coalition is very concerned about lobbying that could derail efforts to have the pro-consumer provisions they support included in the law. "Clearly there have been incorrect statements made on this minimal financial planning regulation. It would not limit consumer access to products and services. They would have the same access. Consumers will have increased confidence that the advice they seek will be delivered with their best interests in mind," said Diahann W. Lassus, NAPFA's 2008/2009 Chair.

The coalition envisions that educational and testing standards set by the oversight board for registered financial planners would not be as rigorous as those that Certified Financial Planners are required to meet, she said. However, registered planners still would be required to provide a fiduciary standard of care to their clients, Lassus added.

Brokers and insurance agents would not be forced to register as financial planners, but those who held themselves out as financial planners would have to meet the required minimum competency and ethics standards or stop using the financial planner title, she said.

"Today anyone can call themselves a financial planner and continue to practice," noted Tom L. Potts, FPA president.

Glovsky added that the independent oversight board would not be considered a self regulatory organization. The board would be put together by the SEC and would be made up primarily of public members and not those in the financial industry. The coalition believes the SEC, not the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, would be most qualified to oversee the oversight board, he added.