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Regulation Best Interest Rule and the CFP Board

On June 5, 2019, The Securities and Exchange commission adopted the Regulation Best Interest Rule, along with other rulemakings and interpretations.  These actions were designed to enhance the quality and transparency retail investors’ relationships with advisors.  Concurrently, the CFP Board has made changes to the CFP Board Code of Ethics and Standards, which become effective October 1, 2019.  So the question becomes, how does the CFP Board see the SEC rules and interpretations impact CFP Professionals, especially given the new changes coming?

The following is a statement from the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board) on the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Regulation BI and related set of guidance for investment advisers.

“Now that the SEC has issued its Regulation Best Interest rule and related guidance for investment advisers, consumers should know that nearly 85,000 CFP® professionals will be obligated to provide financial advice under a fiduciary standard.

The fiduciary obligation in CFP Board’s new Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct (effective October 1, 2019) is straightforward. Drawn from the common law of fiduciaries, it includes a duty of loyalty to place the clients’ interest above their own and the firm’s, a duty of care, and a duty to follow client instructions. This clear and simple standard – along with the entire Code and Standards – is consistent with CFP Board’s mission to benefit the public.

Professional standards-setting organizations, such as CFP Board, exist in part to set standards that go beyond those required by the law for the benefit of the public and the profession. Those who comply with CFP Board’s Code and Standards will not be in violation of Regulation BI, or any other existing laws and regulations, by doing so. The new Code and Standards complement, rather than conflict, with the law.

As the marketplace increasingly demands, consumers who work with a CFP® professional can expect to benefit from competent and ethical financial advice. In the absence of a federal fiduciary standard, the new Code and Standards serves as a North Star for consumers seeking financial advice.”

Clearly, the Board sees this as a step in the right direction, but also an opportunity for CFP® Professionals to further differentiate themselves in the marketplace.