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CFP Board is a professional body, not a regulator. The Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct reflects the commitment that all CFP® professionals make to CFP Board to maintain high standards of competency and ethics.
The cornerstone of the Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct is a CFP® professional’s obligation to CFP Board to act as a fiduciary, and therefore, act in the best interests of the client at all times when providing financial advice. CFP Board may sanction a CFP® professional who does not abide by this commitment, but CFP Board doesn’t guarantee a CFP® professional’s services.
You want a financial advisor who has made a commitment to you to act as a fiduciary. Therefore, whomever you choose as your financial professional, including a CFP® professional, you should be sure to ask for—and get—a written engagement that requires them to have a fiduciary obligation to you.
It is important to understand how CFP® professionals deliver their services and how they are compensated. Planners are compensated for the services they provide in different ways. Some are paid through commissions and others through fees or a combination of both. While all CFP® professionals are trained to provide you with comprehensive financial planning services, some specialize in one or more areas, or work with specific types of clients. Be sure to ask the planner how he or she is paid.
As more people call themselves “financial planners,” finding the right professional to address your financial planning needs isn’t always easy. Become familiar with the planner’s business style and understand the level of services he or she provides. Look for a measure of the planner’s commitment to ethical behavior and adherence to high professional standards. Look for a financial planner who is committed to putting you and your needs at the center of every financial planning engagement.
CHECK TO SEE IF YOUR PLANNER IS A CFP® PROFESSIONALTo verify that your planner is authorized by CFP Board to use the CFP® certification marks and to learn more about financial planning, visit letsmakeaplan.org or call toll-free 800-487-1497.