CFP Board Proposes Changes to Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct


 CFP Board pic

CFP Board

Brian Stertzer of Hilton Head, South Carolina, leads a division of WealthStone, Inc., that invests more than $550 million in assets under management. An accomplished financial advisor, Brian Stertzer has earned the Certified Financial Planner designation from the CFP Board.

In an effort to improve clarity in its Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct, the CFB Board announced in June of 2017 that it has proposed changes to its standards concerning fiduciary duty and sales-related compensation. The changes, which come in response to developments in the regulatory environment, aim to help Certified Financial Planners determine how they should deliver financial planning.

In respect to fiduciary duty, the CFB Board has recommended that this duty should extend to instances when a CFP designee is providing financial advice. Currently, the standard applies only when a designee is providing financial planning. In essence, the revised standard requires a CFP holder to operate as a fiduciary at all times and not only in certain cases.

The second proposed change seeks to remove ambiguity about the term “fee based,” which some financial professionals use when discussing compensation that consists of both commission and a fee. While not forbidding use of the term, the CFP Board advises that a CFP designee should instead describe this type of compensation as “fee and commission.” If a designee does elect to employ the term “fee based,” he or she should make clear to the client that any compensation received does not come exclusively from a fee.

The proposed changes mark the first time since 2009 that the CFP Board has updated its Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct. The board expects to institute the revisions by the close of 2017.