Call it the Seven Year Itch.

For the first time since 2008, the CFP Board will review and recommend proposed changes to its Standards of Professional Conduct.

The organization is forming a new 12-member  commission headed by Ray Ferrara, chief executive of ProVise Management Group and the immediate past chair of CFP Board’s directors.

The commission will send its recommendations to the board of directors after a series of public forums and comments from the public.

The review will cover terminology, code of ethics and professional responsibility, rules of conduct and financial planning practice standards.

"No specific catalyst" is driving the review, according to Richard Rojeck, chairman of the CFP Board. But "the business is evolving," Rojeck says, citing examples such as the increasing popularity of robo advisors and call centers.


"This is what we do, "says CEO Kevin Keller. "We're a standard setting body, and a periodic review of our standards is essential to maintain the value, integrity and relevance of the CFP certification."

Recent moves impacting financial planning by the Department of Labor and the SEC will also be reviewed, Keller says.

Asked if the review was timed to coincide with the Labor Department's  proposed fiduciary rule and the SEC's recent statements on  broader fiduciary regulation, Rojeck replied "To the extent we can achieve greater alignment, so much the better."


Public forums will be held in nine cities across the country from late January 2016 through February.

The commission will then meet to review the initial input and make recommendations. The board of directors will finalize and publish the proposed changes, and request public comment.

After 60 days, the commission will review and consider the public comments and revise its recommendations to the board, as appropriate. If necessary, the board will submit the proposed changes for further public comment.

After a final review, the CFP Board will finalize and publish the revised Standards of Professional Conduct with the date they will become effective.

Recommended changes to the standards may not be implemented until 2017, however, because of the lengthy review process.

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