Generally speaking, industries and businesses in the United States don’t proactively seek out increased regulation from the federal government. However, a substantially growing number of individuals in the financial planning industry are doing just that, as they turn to Congress to evaluate the current regulatory environment in which financial planners work.
Currently, the state of financial planning is such that just about anyone with an investment advisor license or securities license can claim to be a financial planner by putting the title on a business card or on their office window, and then charge clients for financial advice.
The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, the Certified Financial Planners (CFP) Board and the Financial Planning Association (all three of which collectively make up the Financial Planning coalition) have taken it upon themselves to work with Congressional leaders to establish a greater level of regulation in regard to how and by whom integrated financial planning services are administered.
Certain individual elements of financial planning are currently regulated (requiring an investment advisor license, annuities license, or securities license), but the delivery of financial planning services as a whole is not. This makes it extremely difficult for customers to make quality, informed decisions in selecting a qualified and ethically responsible financial planner.
The goal, according to representatives of the coalition, is to establish and maintain a clear and definitive set of standards and qualifications for those in the financial planning profession. Doing so, they say, will significantly help customers make a distinction between financial planners who offer low-quality or limited financial planning products and services with little or no regard for the customers best interests, and those who are competently qualified to provide ethical, sound, comprehensive financial counsel.