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CFP Board Approves Controversial 80% Fee Hike

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The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standard’s board of directors approved a controversial 80% fee increase to support a national public awareness campaign to raise awareness about CFP certification.

The board announced Friday that the public awareness campaign will cost $9 million annually and will be funded through a combination of funds from the board’s reserves and an increase in fees. CFP Board is contributing $9.3 million over two years - $7 million in 2011 and $2.3 million in 2012. A monthly fee increase of $12 a month, or about $145 a year, which will be introduced in July, will pay the balance.

Kevin Keller, the board’s chief executive officer, mentioned it was considering this annual fee increase to $325 at the Financial Planning Association’s annual meeting in Denver last month. The idea generated a slew of angry responses on our message board. But the CFP’s board move forward despite the criticism.

The board approved the fee increase and the public awareness campaign anyway during its regularly scheduled fall meeting, which ran from Wednesday through Friday in New York City.

“Our mission is to grant, uphold and ensure that the CFP mark is the recognized standard of excellence in personal financial planning,” Robert Glovsky, the board’s chairman, said in a press release Friday. “By raising awareness of the certification to the public we will indeed be fulfilling our mission and calling attention to the importance of financial planning and the CFP certification.”

With the increase in fees, CFP certificants will now pay annually but still renew their certification every two years. The total annual certification fee will rise to $325 a year. The certification fee increase will go into effect starting with July 1. Currently, certificants pay fees every two years.

The public awareness campaign has been approved to run over the next four years, with a review period at the end of the second year. The board made clear in its deliberations that for the campaign to continue, it must be successful based on established metrics that demonstrate an increased awareness of CFP certification. The resolution also states that all funds stemming from the fee increase and allocation of reserves must be dedicated to the public awareness campaign.

“This campaign responds to what my fellow CFP professionals have been saying for years – we need increased consumer awareness of CFP certification,” said Charles Moran, the board’s chairman-elect. “The more consumers understand the value of CFP certification, the more they will seek out the competent and ethical financial planning services offered by a CFP professional.”

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