(Dow Jones) A group of financial planners pushing for regulation of their profession is bracing for a long fight.

The Financial Planning Coalition wants to limit who can call himself or herself a financial planner, a title anyone can use today. The group wants ethical and competency standards for individuals who hold themselves out as financial planners, and a new regulatory authority to oversee self-described planners.

Another part of the group's battle-requiring financial advice providers to put their clients' interests first-has gained momentum after the Madoff scandal and the market meltdown of a year ago. But providing more clarity around the somewhat vague concept of financial planning isn't a priority now for lawmakers.

Still, the coalition says it will continue its campaign even if the U.S. Congress doesn't address financial planning in financial reform legislation.

"This issue does not go away," says Robert Glovsky, a certified financial planners in Boston and chairman of the Certified Financial Planners Board of Standards.

The coalition was formed in December 2008 by the Financial Planning Association, National Association of Personal Financial Advisors and Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards.

It wants financial planning-the process of providing comprehensive financial advice on investments, taxes, college saving and other matters-to be recognized as a distinct profession whose members must meet certain educational and ethical requirements. Most consumers don't realize that, unlike doctors and attorneys, individuals calling themselves financial planners aren't required to meet certain requirements, the coalition says.

Further confusing consumers is the hodgepodge of titles and regulatory structures within the industry. Brokers, who sell investment products, are regulated by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. They're required to do what's suitable, but not necessarily best, for their clients. Investment advisers, who provide advice for a fee, register with state security regulators or the Securities and Exchange Commission, depending on the amount of assets they oversee for clients. They're required to put their clients' interests first.

These financial professionals use a range of job titles-financial planner, financial advisor, wealth manager-making it even more difficult for consumers to recognize distinctions between their qualifications and obligations to investors.

The regulatory entity the coalition envisions for planners would fall under SEC oversight and wouldn't replace the existing regulators.

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