After six months of reviewing the current continuing education requirements of Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®) certificants, the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board) has established proposed changes to the current requirements.
Last Friday, August 17, 2012, the CFP Board announced the proposal of the new rules regarding the continuing education requirement for CFP® certificants. For the first time, the proposed significant changes include providing CE credits for those who complete practice management education. The changes will allow four CE hours for practice management education or pro bono work.
According to the CFP Board, the increase in the required number of hours was a result of a comprehensive review that was conducted on the current CE requirements of CFP® certificants by the Board’s Council on Education. This was also consistent with the recommendations given by the Board’s 2007 and 2008 Education Task Forces and also in line with other similar requirements for other established professions and designations. The CFP Board also noted that the CE requirement for CFP® certificants has remained unchanged since it was first established during the 1990s.
Michelle Warholic is the Board’s Managing Director for Education, Examinations, and Talent. She shared that all members of the Council on Education are CFP® certificants and their decision to include practice management as an approved CE topic was because it was the area that has garnered the most complaints and suggestions throughout the years. The CFP Board also views it as especially beneficial to the clients of CFP® practitioners.
Furthermore, the increase in the number of hours on Ethics was a result of the last job analysis study that revealed practitioners should have more knowledge regarding ethics in both general and specific ethics education. Plus, it was also given more emphasis in the initial certification requirement.
Below are a few of the proposed changes:
- Increasing the total CE hours required each renewal period (every 2 years) from 30 to 40 hours.
- Granting CE credit for practice management programs and/or pro bono activities, up to 4 hours (total combined) per renewal period.
- Increasing the Ethics CE requirement from 2 hours to 4 hours. This shall include a mandatory CFP Board-produced Ethics program (2 hours) plus 2 hours of Ethics programming, which is expanded to include both pre-approved programs on CFP Board’s Standards of Professional Conduct and general ethics-related content.
- Implementing a “50% cap rule,” which will limit CE credit for any single topic area or professional activity to 50% of total required CE hours.
- Eliminating CE credit for completing professional licenses and designation examinations.
- Reviewing online courses for academic credit (with grading) delivered by regionally accredited colleges or universities as “live” CE programs, rather than “self study.”
The Board has allotted a public comment period, which will end on September 30, 2012. In November, any changes to the proposed rules will be presented to the CFP Board of Directors. Although the comments may influence the changes, the final decision still remains with the Board of Directors.
You may send your comments to the CFP Board e-mail address: CEComments@cfpboard.org or through regular mail addressed to Ms. Michelle Warholic, CFP Board, 1425 K Street, NW, #500, in Washington, DC 20005.