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CFP Board Continuing Ed Policy Must Change

The CFP Board should change its policy and begin providing continuing education credits for sessions dealing with practice management.

Financial planners often don't know which portfolio management system, financial planning software, or customer relationship management application to buy. They may not know what kind of computers they need or which marketing products make most sense for them. For CFPs to provide financial planning advice, being educated about these issues is crucial. Yet the CFP Board says education sessions covering these topics don't qualify for continuing education (CE) credit.

The CFP Board has a list of hundreds of topics that qualify for continuing education (CE) credit. You can get CE credit for attending a program about Generation Skipping Transfer Taxes, swaps, or collars—topics that rarely come up. Learning about technology and marketing issues arguably is more important and useful. It certainly meets the CFP Board’s test that a CE program “increase the professional competency of CFP certificants.”

The American Institute of CPAs, the equivalent to the CFP Board that regulates the nation’s 340,000 CPAs, gives continuing education credit for practice management and marketing issues. The CFP Board should do the same for its 60,000 CFP licensees.

If the CFP Board wants financial planning to flourish and be accessible to more Americans, it must help CFP certificants create stronger practices by promoting education of practice management and marketing. While I appreciate the many good things the CFP Board does, its policy on this issue makes no sense.

The Financial Crisis Webinar Series sponsored by Advisors Products recently began receiving CE credit and most weekly seminars are likely to qualify for credit. But I don’t see why the sessions about marketing and practice management should not receive approval by the CFP Board for continuing education credit.

If you think I’m wrong or missing something, please write a comment to let me know. But this has angered me for years and I’m pleased to finally air this issue.

Let me know what you think. Should this CFP Board policy be reformed?

One Response to “CFP Board Continuing Ed Policy Must Change”

  1. February 12th, 2009 at 7:35 pm

    John D. Buerger, CFP® says:

    I’m not so sure. If they are going to add practice management, then they should add to the total number of hours required. I put in 40 hours every year for education … because it makes me a better planner. If I added the practice management training, that number would double. I’d hate to see planners focus solely on the practice management side and ignore new planning techniques.

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