Missouri lawmaker says don't worry, law won't curb use of CFP designation

CFP Board, FSI oppose new law prohibiting use of terms "certification" or "registration" for credentials not approved by state

Jun 27, 2018 @ 2:22 pm

By Mark Schoeff Jr.

A Missouri state lawmaker is trying to reassure certified financial planners that a bill recently signed into law won't curb use of the CFP credential.

Rep. Derek Grier, a Republican member of the Missouri House of Representatives, was the author of the legislation designed to alter licensing requirements for certain professions to ease entry into those fields and increase employment.

Cosmetology and hair styling are examples of occupations Mr. Grier and many other lawmakers believe shouldn't require rigorous licensing.

But the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. and the Financial Services Institute opposed the bill because it would prohibit use of the terms "certification" or "registration" for credentials not approved by the state.

They fear such language means the approximately 1,400 CFPs in the state would not be able to use the credential as of Jan. 1, when the law goes into effect.

"That is the opposite of what we're trying to accomplish, and the opposite of what the law does," Mr. Grier said.

He said the dispute revolves around one line in a 200-page bill. He is seeking a legal statement that dispels the notion that the measure would limit CFP use.

"If I get a legal opinion that says otherwise, then we will absolutely be more than happy to clarify," Mr. Grier said. "CFPs provide a level of professionalism and credibility to the financial advising industry that is tremendously important and valuable to my constituents and our state."

The CFP Board said it is working with Mr. Grier to ensure Missouri CFPs won't be hamstrung as of Jan. 1. The organization recently was successful in getting a provision removed from a bill in Louisiana that would have restricted use of the CFP mark.

The effort to ease licensing requirements is gaining momentum around the country — the American Legislative Exchange Council has offered model legislation — and was the subject of a recent congressional hearing.

"It seems to be a popular trend," said Michelle Carroll Foster, FSI vice president of state affairs. Bills "blossom quickly when anything sounds like a good idea."

Licensing legislation also has been introduced in Ohio, Michigan and Illinois. The CFP Board will try to prevent language that it thinks would affect the CFP mark.

"What we've seen happen in Louisiana and Missouri could happen in those states," said Maureen Thompson, CFP Board vice president for public policy. "We are proactively going after those bills."

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