CFP Offers Draft Ethics Webcast

Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. (CFP Board) will host a webcast townhall meeting to discuss its second exposure draft of proposed changes to its Standards of Professional Conduct, which set forth the ethical standards for CFP professionals.

The meeting on Friday, March 30, 11 am ET, will be available via Webcast at http://www.webcastgroup.com/client/start.asp?wid=0670330073188

The proposed revisions include a requirement that a CFP professional "shall at all times place the interest of the client ahead of his or her own." The new language would replace the standard of "reasonable and prudent professional judgment" contained in CFP Board's current Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility.

The proposed revisions also include a requirement that CFP professionals who provide financial planning services do so with the duty of care of a "fiduciary," a term partly defined as acting "in the best interest of the client." That proposal significantly strengthens the current requirement that financial planning services be performed "in the interest of the client."

"We believe the proposed revisions accomplish the goals we set for our review of CFP Board's ethics requirements," said Schaeffer. "They ensure that the ethical standards apply to all individuals over whom CFP Board has jurisdiction, clear up repetitive and confusing language and create an enforceable duty of care for CFP professionals."

In 2005, the board of directors began a review of CFP Board's ethics-related functions. CFP Board released an initial exposure draft of proposed revisions to its ethical standards in July 2006 and received more than 300 responses to that draft. The board of directors appointed an ethics task force to review those comments and recommend a course of action with the proposed revisions. The second exposure draft is the product of that review.

"The majority of the comments received last year addressed whether CFP Board should require CFP professionals to adhere to a fiduciary duty of care," said Marilyn Capelli Dimitroff, board of directors member and chair of the Ethics Task Force. "There were passionate opinions for and against including a fiduciary duty -- and many who incorrectly believed that CFP Board's current ethical standards require a fiduciary duty from all CFP professionals. It was most encouraging to find that those on both sides of the fiduciary debate were in agreement that CFP Board’s ethical standards must put the interest of the client first."

The board is soliciting comments on the draft through April 25, 2007. Email to or mail to: CFP Board, Attn: Ethics Task Force, 1670 Broadway, Suite 600, Denver, CO 80202

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