Author Archives: Carolyn Sofman

Financial Planning Coalition Responds to Securities and Exchange Commission’s Package of Rule Proposals

Washington, D.C. – The Financial Planning Coalition – comprising Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board), the Financial Planning Association® (FPA®) and the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) –submitted three letters addressing the Securities and Exchange Commission’s  (SEC) proposed rule “Regulation Best Interest”; the proposed IA Interpretive Guidance; and the proposed Form CRS Relationship Summary.

This package of proposals provides the SEC the long-awaited opportunity to raise the standard of conduct applicable to broker-dealers who provide personalized investment advice; reaffirm the fiduciary obligation of investment advisers; enhance investor understanding by requiring both broker-dealers and investment advisers to deliver a relationship summary document to retail investors; and reduce investor confusion by restricting the use of certain titles by broker-dealers.

Faced with growing responsibility for their own investment decisions and an increasingly complex universe of financial products and services, Americans today must depend on competent and ethical advisors to help make decisions critical to their financial security. When they seek financial advice, however, they face a marketplace in which it is virtually impossible to distinguish a salesperson from an advisor, or between those advisors who are legally obligated to provide advice in the investor’s best interest versus those who are not. The Coalition supports the goal of helping investors understand the type of financial professional they are dealing with and what they should expect from their relationship.

In the letters submitted to the SEC, the Coalition expresses its concerns regarding the package of rule proposals, and lays out its recommendations to strengthen the proposed rules, including encouraging the Commission to follow the lead of the CFP Board in revising its Standards to extend the fiduciary obligation of a CFP® professional to all Financial Advice.

The Coalition holds a longstanding interest in this issue and in numerous comment letters over the last several years has expressed its support for a fiduciary standard of care for all financial professionals who offer personalized investment advice to retail investors. A clear fiduciary standard equally applicable to all financial professionals who provide personalized investment advice, including broker-dealers, would help clarify the  investment decisions Americans face every day.

Financial Planning Coalition Comments on New York State Department of Financial Services’ Updated Proposed Amendments to Insurance Regulation 187

The Financial Planning Coalition (Coalition) – comprised of Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards (CFP Board), the Financial Planning Association® (FPA®), and the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) – recommends that the New York Department of Financial Services specifies the importance of accredited credentialing organizations that grant financial planning certifications and designations, thereby helping to strengthen and clarify the financial advice being offered to New York’s retail investors.  The Coalition’s comment letter can be found here.

Financial Planning Coalition Statement on Louisiana House Bill 748

Washington, D.C., May 9, 2018 – The Financial Planning Coalition – comprising Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board), the Financial Planning Association® (FPA®) and the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) – issued the following statement in advance of today’s Louisiana State Legislature hearing on House Bill 748:

“The Financial Planning Coalition strongly opposes House Bill 748, as it is currently written, which would severely restrict consumer access to ethical and competent financial planning services from Certified Financial Planner professionals. There are 586 CFP® professionals in the State of Louisiana serving tens of thousands of clients. If this legislation becomes law, these and other consumers would be the ones most adversely impacted. Unlike other financial services designations and certifications, the CFP® certification is the only one that carries a robust enforcement function, requires a comprehensive exam and demands that those holding the certification agree to put their clients’ interests above their own.

While we certainly understand the intent of the broader legislation as written, we believe it will result in less protections for Louisiana investors and savers. We respectfully ask that the legislation be revised so that CFP® professionals can continue to use their CFP® certification in the way intended, which is to demonstrate to the public that they have met the highest standard in ethics and competency in financial planning.  If those revisions are not made, we urge lawmakers to oppose the legislation.”

Financial Planning Coalition Statement Following SEC Meeting on Fiduciary Standards

Washington, D.C., April 18, 2018 – The Financial Planning Coalition – comprising Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board), the Financial Planning Association® (FPA®) and the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) – issued the following statement in response to today’s Securities and Exchange Committee meeting on fiduciary standards.

“The proposals – as discussed by the SEC – appear to be a step forward for investors.

The Financial Planning Coalition looks forward to thoroughly reviewing each of the three proposals in great detail and providing input to the commission informed by CFP Board’s recently approved new Standards of Conduct and Code of Ethics.

We appreciate the opportunity to comment on these proposals and will make recommendations to strengthen them in keeping with what consumers expect and deserve – a fiduciary standard requiring financial professionals to put their clients’ interest first when providing financial advice.”

Financial Planning Coalition Statement on SEC Fiduciary Standards Meeting

Washington, D.C., April 18, 2018 – The Financial Planning Coalition – comprising Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board), the Financial Planning Association® (FPA®) and the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) – issued the following statement in advance of the Securities and Exchange Commission meeting on fiduciary standards.

“Today, the SEC will finally have a meeting that should have happened nearly eight years ago when Congress explicitly authorized the SEC to enact a fiduciary rule under the Dodd-Frank Act. We expect to hear the Commissioners express support for this important consumer protection and that the proposed rule will have meaningful language providing American investors a fiduciary standard of care. We look forward to reviewing the SEC’s proposal and to submitting our comments as part of the public comment process.”

Financial Planning Coalition Responds to Court’s Decision on DOL Fiduciary Rule

Washington, DC – The Financial Planning Coalition (Coalition) – comprised of Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards (CFP Board), the Financial Planning Association® (FPA®), and the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) – issued the following statement in response to the latest court decision regarding the Department of Labor’s fiduciary standard rule:

“The Coalition has been a long-time advocate for a fiduciary standard for investment advice. While we are disappointed in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals decision, we will continue to support rule-making that will bring substantial practical benefits and additional investor protections for all consumers. The Coalition looks forward to reviewing the Securities and Exchange Commission’s proposed rule and to providing feedback and comments that are in the best interest of consumers and financial advisors.

A strengthened fiduciary rule, encompassing the duties of care and loyalty, is both necessary and appropriate for all financial professionals providing personalized investment advice and represents the best way to protect American investors. A meaningful, legally enforceable fiduciary standard of care that puts investors’ interests first is the best way to strengthen investor protection when personalized investment advice is dispensed.”

The Coalition has previously shared its stance on this topic, most recently highlighted in its response to the SEC’s request for information regarding standards of conduct for investment advisers and broker-dealers.