CFP Board to announce possible delay of new fiduciary standard

Organization's CEO confirms meeting with Edward Jones, says broker-dealer still considering how to move forward

Jul 12, 2019 @ 3:18 pm

By Bruce Kelly

The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. will announce by next week whether it intends to delay enforcing an expanded fiduciary standard for financial advisers who hold the group's CFP mark.

During a webinar Friday afternoon, the organization's chair, Susan John, said there already had been a great deal of discussion regarding this topic with a variety of financial advice firms, and that the CFP Board intends to state early next week whether it will push back the new standards.

Approved in 2018, the CFP Board's new code of ethics and standards of conduct require all CFPs, including brokers, to act in the best interests of their clients when providing financial advice. The new standards are scheduled to take effect in October.

The broader financial advice industry, which includes large national broker-dealers that have thousands of CFP holders as employees, is trying to figure out how the CFP Board's new standards jibe with the Securities and Exchange Commission's recent investment advice reforms, under which brokers do not have to work under a fiduciary standard with clients.

For example, the Financial Planning Association earlier this week sent a letter to the CFP Board requesting the organization delay enforcement of its new code until June 30, 2020.

"We gave the firms and advisers 18 months to deal with new standards," Ms. John said on the webinar. "The date has been a topic of public discussion. We're not going to change the standards. We believe they are appropriate and not inconsistent with rules of regulatory bodies."

One listener asked the CFP Board panel, which included CEO Kevin Keller, about Edward Jones, which recently sent a letter to its advisers expressing concerns about the new standards.

"We sat down with Edward Jones a few weeks ago," Mr. Keller said, in a meeting that included the firm's general counsel. "Edward Jones is still considering how they move forward."

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