SAN ANTONIO - Big changes to the continuing education requirements for planners are expected next month following a meeting of the leadership of the CFP Board.

In addition to expanding the 30 credits required every two years to as many as 40, planners may also have a chance to earn credits in practice management, pro bono efforts and ethics.

"The board has looked at what other professional organizations have been doing," says Alan Goldfarb, chairman of the CFP Board and director of wealth management at Weaver Wealth Management in Dallas. "The fact that we have 30 hours every two years seems inconsistent with growing this as a true profession."

"It's a form of recertification," adds Kevin Keller, CEO of the CFP Board, who like Goldfarb and 1,900 other planners, attended the FPA annual conference in San Antonio. "It's important to maintain that currency and the competency in financial planning. . There's an acknowledgement that, as the financial planning profession continues to evolve and emerge, consistent with the established professions, there is a need for more hours - whether it's 40 or some number greater than 30."

Regarding the possibility of extending CE credits to practice management topics, which for now are excluded, Goldfarb says, "if you're going to be successful in running a major planning practice and helping people, you need to stay in business." Other potential changes are a 50% cap on the amount of CE credit in a single concentration and increasing CE ethics requirements to four hours from two hours.

Interest in the changes has been high: More than 1,200 planners sent in responses during the comment period that ended Sunday on the proposals. The CFP Board's council on education will review the comments and make recommendations to the board's leadership for its Nov. 8 meeting.

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