The CFP Board is currently proposing to make the following changes in continuing education (CE) requirements for certified financial planners:
- Increasing total CE hours required for each renewal period (every 2 years) from 30 to 40 hours.
- Granting credit for practice management programs and/or pro bono activities sponsored by a registered CE sponsor organization (up to 4 hours CE total combined). Practice management CE programs are those “focused on the planning, development and management of a CFP® professional’s business operations, office management, business model design, budgeting processes, and leadership.”
- Increasing the Ethics CE requirement from 2 hours to 4 hours.
- Expanding the professional activities that qualify for CE credit. Currently, accepted activities include teaching and authorship. The Board proposes adding participation in the grading of Registered Program Financial Planning Development (“capstone”) courses and study group activities that meet certain guidelines.
- Limiting CE credit for any single topic area or professional activity to 50% of total required CE hours. The topic areas are: General Principles, Insurance, Investments, Income Tax, Retirement and Estate Planning, Interpersonal Communication, Professional Conduct and Fiduciary Responsibility.
- Eliminating CE credit for completing professional licenses and designation examinations.
- Treating online college and university courses that give academic credit as “live” CE programs rather than “self-study” programs.
The Board has recently completed a 45-day public comment period, and final proposed amendments are expected in November 2012. All certified financial planning professionals should be on the lookout for these changes so that they can plan accordingly.