WASHINGTON — Long-anticipated proposed changes to the CFP Board’s Standards of Professional Conduct are expected as early as July, says Kevin Keller, the Board's CEO.

“Our expectation is that we’ll be out in early third quarter with notice and comment,” he says. “If everything goes right by December 31, the new standards will be effective at some future date,” though not as early as January 1, he added.

Keller declines to be more specific about possible changes or additions, saying the commission, which was tasked in December 2015 with reviewing and recommending changes to its standards, has not yet officially submitted its findings to the CFP Board.

Kevin Keller, CEO of the CFP Board
CFP Board CEO Kevin Keller

When the review was announced, Richard Rojeck, then-chairman of the CFP Board, said "the business is evolving," and cited examples such as the increasing popularity of robo advisers and call centers. The standards have not been updated since 2008.

EXAMING ETHICS CODE

The commission, chaired by former chairman Ray Ferrara, has been examining four sections of the standards: terminology (how certain terms such as “Certificant” can be used), code of ethics and professional responsibility, rules of conduct and financial planning practice standards.

Other commission members include Barbara Roper, the director of investor protection at the Consumer Federation of America, and Jeffery Sills, a CFP and senior vice president for Capital One Investments.

“We are committed to making sure we have the broadest possible process in place,” Keller says.

After the commission held public forums in early 2016, they discussed and are currently finalizing their recommendations. When these recommendations are made in the third quarter, the board will publish the proposed changes, and request public comment from CFP holders. This notice and comment period lasts for 60 days.

WHAT'S AHEAD

Following this period, the commission will review comments and possibly revise its recommendations. If necessary, the board will submit the proposed changes for further public comment.

In September, the Institute for Fiduciary Standard announced a new fiduciary registry which aims to counteract perceived shortcomings in the SEC and the CFP Board’s fiduciary requirements.

Publically supported by TD Ameritrade Institutional and Pershing Advisor Solutions, the registry will promote advisers who observe its 12 best practices.

The SEC and the CFP Board’s standards "are incomplete," said Knut Rostad, president of the IFS, at a press conference introducing the list at that time.

(With additional reporting from Charles Paikert and Ann Marsh)

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Chelsea Emery

Chelsea Emery

Chelsea Emery is Editor-in-Chief of Financial Planning, SourceMedia’s flagship brand covering wealth management.