Planners give thumbs up to CFP Board's ad campaign

Sep 16, 2011 @ 4:56 pm

By Evan Cooper

So far, so good seems to be the attitude of certified financial planners regarding the CFP Board's five-month old public awareness campaign.

"People are liking it," said Michael Kitces of the Pinnacle Advisory Group in Columbia, Md., who said that planners should view the program more as an effort to increase awareness than to generate leads.

"The commercials and ads give planners a sense of pride; this is something that the Board should have been doing a long time ago," said Mr. Kitces, who is attending the Financial Planning Association's Experience 2011 conference in San Diego, Calif., where the CFP Board updated the press on the campaign.

Mark Carroll, a certified financial planner with Prudential Insurance in Lexington, Ky., said that the CFP Board's addition of a new print ad -- one that says there is no such thing as having one's finances on autopilot -- and the underwriting of programs on National Public Radio also are positives.

"I haven't seen a reaction among clients or prospects yet, but I think the program is a good idea," he said.

Another fan who says it is too early to judge the results of the program is Timothy Knotts of the Hogan-Knotts Financial Group in Red Bank, N.J.

"I hadn't seen the television commercials until this week here in San Diego," he said. "I was told that it was decided to run some commercials here in conjunction with the FPA meeting."

Mr. Knotts said he has been showing the commercials and the print ads to his clients to renforce the message that professional financial advice is valuable.

"The public doesn't know what CFPs are, so the campaign is a wonderful idea because it will drive more people to the mark," said John Comer, a certified financial planner in Plymouth, Minn., whose eponymous firm advises planners on issues of client communications and interaction.

Lewis Walker of Walker Capital Management Corp. in Norcross, Ga., said he can't tell whether the campaign is working or not yet, but on balance it's "a good thing."

"I haven't picked up any of the buzz from the campaign, but I wouldn't criticize it because it creates awareness." he said.

Separately, Mr. Walker was honored at Thursday evening's opening session of the FPA conference when he received the organization's P. Kemp Fain Award for this contributions to the financial planning profession. The P. Kemp Fain, Jr. Award recognizes an FPA member who has made outstanding contributions to the financial planning profession in the areas of service to society, academia, government and professional activities.

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