ORLANDO, Fla. – The FPA doesn’t want the CFP Board to become a continuing education provider.

The CFP Board “cannot justifiably act as both a regulator for continuing education providers and as a CE provider themselves,” FPA President Michael Branham said to a burst of applause Sunday at the general session of the association’s annual conference.

The CFP Board notified the FPA earlier this year that it was considering entering the continuing education provider business to “help elevate the overall CE quality in the profession,” Branham said. The FPA is also a major continuing education provider.

If the CFP Board does enter this market niche, in which more than 1,200 organizations offer CE credit, “it would raise serious conflict of interest concerns” and compromise the integrity of the designation, Branham asserted. “It’s why other respected professions avoid having the body that creates and regulates rules for CE providers from also becoming a CE provider and competitor.”

The CFP Board said in a statement that no decision had been made on the CE issue, although it may come up at its directors’ meeting next month. CFP Board officials and staff “are very well aware of FPA’s concerns,” the statement added. “We are still evaluating and discussing all options and strategies to improve the quality of CE, which is something that CFP professionals overwhelmingly want. We appreciate FPA’s very valuable input and appreciate their commitment to improve CE for CFP professionals.”

Branham, a CFP at Cornerstone Wealth Advisors in Edina, Minn., put the CFP Board on notice that the FPA was backing up its words with public relations pressure. The association “will be calling on stakeholders to let the CFP Board know our concerns” before the November meeting of the CFP Board’s directors, Branham said.

“It’s a quality issue,” Branham said at a news conference Sunday. “We want to make sure [the CFP Board] don’t do anything to damage the marker.” If the CFP Board began offering CE courses and credits, it would be an unfair advantage, as if a referee was suddenly allowed to begin playing in a game, Branham told Financial Planning. “They get to create the rules by which [CE providers] operate under,” he explained. “They get to choose who is a CE provider is and which CE sessions are appropriate and which are not.”

The two organizations, who are both part of the Financial Planning Coalition, along with NAPFA, last talked about the issue in the summer, and the CFP Board is still exploring the possibility of becoming a CE provider, according to Branham. In addition, the FPA announced it was forming a Continuing Education Best Practices Task Force, chaired by former FPA President Dan Moisand.

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