Planning Your Financial Future with A Professional You Can Trust
A CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional makes a commitment to CFP Board to act as a fiduciary, which means acting in their clients' best interests at all times when providing financial advice. You should want a financial adviser who makes this commitment directly to you. Therefore, whomever you choose as your financial professional, including a CFP® professional, you should consider getting a written engagement that requires them to have a fiduciary obligation to you.
Professional standards are important to protect consumers. CFP Board's Code and Standards sets forth the commitment that all CFP® professionals make to CFP Board. This includes duties to maintain the confidentiality and protect the privacy of client information.
In addition, CFP® professionals commit to CFP Board to disclose any conflicts of interest that might affect the professional relationship and compromise the CFP® professional's ability to act in their clients' best interests.
Approximately one year ago, CFP Board updated its Code and Standards to mandate that all CFP® professionals commit to CFP Board to act as fiduciaries for their clients when providing financial advice.
"Simply put, someone acting as a fiduciary should deliver financial advice that is clear, specific, objective and thorough," says Dan Candura, a CFP Board Emeritus® member and Founder of Candura Group, LLC.
Professionals who follow CFP Board's Code and Standards commit to fulfilling three key duties as part of their fiduciary duty:
- Duty of Loyalty. This means putting their clients' interests first.
"Your interests should be placed above the interest of the CFP® professional and the CFP® professional's firm," according to CFP Board's website.
- Duty of Care. This means being careful, acting with prudence and diligence in making recommendations to clients.
For example, if you receive a sudden windfall of money that you want to delay investing, a CFP® professional who abides by a commitment to CFP Board will review the reasonable options and consider factors such as risks and interest rates in making the best recommendation.
- Duty to Follow Client Instructions. This means complying with all objectives, policies, restrictions, and other terms on which you have agreed, and "all reasonable and lawful directions of you, the client," according to CFP Board.
"Meeting these three duties enables CFP® professionals to honor their commitment to CFP Board to act as a fiduciary, in the client's best interest. Certainly, that is what every client deserves," Candura says.
To learn more about how CFP Board's Code and Standards for CFP® professionals help protect consumers, visit LetsMakeAPlan.org.