Concern About CFP Board Controversy Hits Colleges That Teach Planning

College administrators, professors and students nationwide say they are concerned about the controversy surrounding the CFP Board’s disciplinary policies – and the fact that the board’s ongoing public awareness campaign, called Let’s Make a Plan, has been driving Americans to its website where, until recently, hundreds of advisors were misrepresenting their compensation as fee-only.

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Comments (8)
I think that your article raised several valid concerns about the the behavior of the CFPBOS. Mr. Weagley summed it best when he stated that the failure of the CFPBOS to act against the wirehouses was egregious. It makes it appear as if the CFPBOS is in bed with the wirehouses and if I recall, didn't the CFPBOS hire someone from ML to head up development?

It is ironic that the CFPBOS has treated the incorrect listing of compensation methods as a much more serious offense than holding oneself out to be a RIA to most of your clients when indeed, not even registered with that state.
Posted by Consumer A | Friday, October 11 2013 at 10:56AM ET
This is just the tip of the iceberg.

Will it lead to exposure of the BIG scandal, involving not only the CFP Board but also other leaders of "fiduciary" advisor training and credentials, such as "Fiduciary360"?

For a decade, applying a kind of investment training specified by the CFP Board, Fiduciary360 has offered investment training and software centered on misuse of modern portfolio theory in a way that ignores pursuit of clients' best interests in favor of financial industry profits and academics' theoretical interests.

Can the institutions offering what they claim to be "fiduciary" investment training and credentials clean this BIG one up before it covers even the best financial planners in an ocean of public disgrace?

Dick Purcell
Posted by Dick P | Friday, October 11 2013 at 11:26AM ET
Here is a direct quote from the Board's "Lets Make a Plan" website:

"Your needs will be at the heart of all your planner's recommendations. CFP(R) professionals have an ethical obligation to follow their financial planner duties and act in your best interest." - See more at:

I find it quite interesting that a minor, technical, and widespread violation with regard to potential receipt of income that may have, at some point, been tainted by the inclusions of broker-dealer profits (which may have come from commissions) earns a resignation demand and letter from the board in a members record, while their website at the same time states what is clearly a blatant lie.

Since when do CFP "professionals" have an ethical duty to ... "act in your best interest?" Broker-dealer reps with the three magic letters after their names routinely have sold non-traded securities products that pay the highest commissions imaginable, and then had those products revealed to be Ponzi schemes and the Board says nothing. The Board itself has stated that unless a "CFP professional" is formally acting in the role of a "financial planner" that no fiduciary duty is present.

I fail to see how the Board can proclaim that those three letters after a person's name convey an ethical duty to act in anyone's best interest other than the broker rep., his or her employer, and, of course, the CFP Board organization to which he or she pays fees.

The Board has managed to take hypocrisy to a level that would even make Goldman Sachs blush.
Posted by Jeff M | Friday, October 11 2013 at 11:30AM ET
The College for Financial Planning -- which, as you note, invented the CFP designation -- sells the textbooks (for hundreds of dollars apiece), administers the exams (also for hefty fees) and runs online courses. How is Pasztor a legitimate source for this story?
Posted by Joan W | Friday, October 11 2013 at 12:27PM ET
Since when is making a living a crime, fee only vs. fee and commission are not mutually exclusive. Sick on one group of practitioners making a moral judgment that anyone that sells a commission product is not acting in the clients best interest. I think you would have to have been sitting in the room with each client to know what their circumstances are and what products will serve their needs. Tracy L
Posted by Gordon L | Friday, October 11 2013 at 1:30PM ET
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